Week 12 – Sound and Games

Weekly Learning

This week we had a lot of work between the midterm, and the different labs. The Midterm was an interesting and creative experience. I really enjoyed coming up with the different ideas of what the filters should be and how to achieve different effects on them. I’m very proud of Cristian’s work on the Atomize filter! He executed the idea exactly how I saw it in my mind, and then we just kept building on it. I’m a little sad we didn’t achieve the exact effect that I wanted on the image: A more spread out dot pattern better simulating the pop colors of a comic book. However, the final result was very good!

The sound lab was very interesting. I had never worked with sound files, so understanding how sampling works, how to manipulate volume, or normalize the sound was a very educational experience. However, the one I enjoyed the most was the hangman. It was an interesting problem and lab to work on. It flexes the logic muscles and helps form a better idea of what computer science and programing in general are. It allows you to be creative with a solution, but gives you a clear goal and rule set to follow. Watching the videos of how other people solved the same problem, and both the similarities and differences between their approaches, was very interesting.

It also helps me grow as a developer to see how different people tackle a common problem. In general, the video presentations have been very good. Looking at other solutions, and the thought process behind them is very valuable experience you don’t get working by yourself. The fact that I can take those ideas and improve on them, or even just see how my own ideas are successful in someone else’s code gives me a level of insight I rarely get at my job, where my solution is the only solution because I’m the only person working on the problem. Code reviews can go a long way to provide you feedback, but nothing replaces comparing your code to someone else’s and picking the best parts of both.

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Week 11 – Thanksgiving Card and Portfolio

Objective Key Results

OKRs are a pretty interesting and useful concept. I think the most important part to take away from Google’s approach to OKRs is that it helps breakdown objectives into actionable and achievable items. The concept is really centered around being able to accomplish specific goals. Those are useful tools in general not only for our professional lives but even personal. Every big step we want to reach, be it a promotion, a house, or a personal goal can be broken down in to small tasks to be prioritized or and evaluated. Progress towards the goals can be easily measured and evaluated to see how successful or close to that goal we are.

Weekly Learning

This week we worked on updating our IPL with just about every image we have been working on and what we have learned about the IPL. For the lab itself, we had to assignments:

  1. Create an outline of an image by turning the image into a black and white version, and then comparing the luminosity between pixels. If the difference is large enough, we turn the pixel black otherwise, we turn the pixel white. At the end, the resulting image outlines the edges where there is enough contrast.
  2. Create a thanksgiving card out of three different images and have text on it as well. We decided to go a bit more overboard on this assignment and create a dynamic frame that would resize depending on the image that was being processed, and a banner that is auto-centered. The task involved not only chroma key techniques, but also rotating the pattern for the frame and some color adjustments to the main image.

Overall, we were very happy with the results. It certainly worked as a warmup for the upcoming midterm and it helped develop some interesting patterns that can be used later on with other image assignments. I’ll be starting to work on some of the ideas i have for the midterm and that will use some of this very learning, specifically the duplication and copy chroma key techniques.

Additionally, I had to produce my video this week, and it was a longer task that I expected. I have been learning more and more about how to properly make videos. Everything from creating better sound through use of Adobe Audition, to transitions, credits, timing cutting, looping, etc. I think those are very valuable skills and even the little experience I had before let me improve the quality of my video. I was very satisfied with the result!

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Week 10 – Manipulate Pixels

Creative Learning and Failure

All this talks were incredibly interesting. I think one of the most pointed learnings here is that you should not be afraid to try, and even less of failure. In Twilight of Lecture, I found myself wondering about my own learning experience. I am not good with groups, and I’ve always had difficulty having in-class discussions. In this case, online learning has served me well since it allows me to interact with my fellow students, and classmates without the social anxiety. However, on CST300 we had the opportunity to share a lot of our thoughts together on Ethics and other topics, and it was an incredibly positive interaction for me. I do feel that throwing classmates into discussion every session can be counter productive for people like me who do not interact well in person.

Weekly Learning

This week’s lab was a lot of fun! Manipulating pictures into something more creative and having basic concepts like “tolerance” and “distance” explained to key colors was very interesting. I think experimenting with media is a great way to learn new how and why it works the way it does. The videos from demos also provided a lot of insight into what my classmates do and how they approach the problems. I can see how my own solutions are strong or weak and allow me to grow both as engineer and student. I’m both scared to follow some of the great videos they’ve put out and excited to get a shot at creating something as memorable.

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Week 9 – Intro to Multimedia

Weekly Learning

This has been a very busy week. The assignment and the introduction to python were actually pretty useful and easy. The labs were concise and short, with interesting learnings for both setting up the environment and the challenges of pair coding. This is really where the struggle of this lab is. We had to figure out over the week what it means to work as a team on a single file project, how to setup git and learn some basic flows to make sure we don’t step over each other’s toes.

I think it would be so much better if the school had at least a short tutorial on git, if the first assignment was a not a group one, giving everyone the opportunity to setup git, understand some of the flows and get everyone on track for a group activity. Instead, it felt we were thrown into being in a collaborative environment that should have been setup at least weeks in advance and learning all the new flows that git offers.

At the end, it all worked out and we got some interesting learnings out of it, but it certainly was a painful week to coordinate work. Moving forward, it should be far smoother and shorter to setup our work, and hopefully we will not need to worry too much about conflicts or rebasing for a little while.

For the image manipulation, I thought it was incredibly interesting. It explains a lot about how tools like photoshop work, and what it means to manipulate the image. I wish we were using a more raw version of python rather than JES since it seems to hide a lot of the libraries needed to manipulate the images, so we can use it on our private projects.

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Week 8.5 – Module 0 – Orientation

This is the beginning of CST205. It’s not a python class, but it should be incredibly interesting to work with multimedia, media and sound processing. Those have always been interesting topics for me, but I’ve never had the chance to work or learn on it.

The group work will be interesting as well. It’s the first time we’re going to get to code with each other rather than work on papers. I think Python is new to all of us, to we’re going to be learning on each other’s codes and techniques.

Having to produce video will be interesting too. I know this was a challenge for us, so now going back to this every week is a bit scary but also interesting. It will make our presentation skill stronger, but also it’s a lot of work to put on top of normal class work.

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