Sonic 2 Boss Theme: An in Depth Study of Remixology

This is my final project for Digital Media 2. The only requirement for the assignment is that the final product impresses my professor. I think this will do the job quite nicely. I took a concept we studied in class, remixes, and stretched it to extremes. This is essentially 3 remixes of the boss theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The first is a faithful re-instrumentation of the original song. The second is a sort of funk/reggae/blues fusion. I really don’t know what genre it falls into. The third is detuned, high-gain metal with lots of palm muting.

This song worked really well for this because of how simplistic it is. It is just a brief intro and then a riff that repeats four times, building in intensity each time. It was very easy to adapt the riff to different styles. The second section took the lead riff, changed it to a different scale, and then played it over different chords and a super groovy bass line. I put some fairly intense musical theory into deciding exactly what scale to use and what the bass should play, but I won’t go into grueling detail here, unless someone really wants me to.

The third section is actually pretty straight forward. I started with the chord progression of the original song: A G A G E. I played harsh and dissonant versions of these chords with palm muted notes and additional dissonant chords between them. I then took the counter lead riff from the original song and played a dissonant sounding version of it on a clean guitar. The bass is actually synthesized here. The guitar is playing in drop A, and when it gets that low, I just think synthesized bass adds higher quality low end that detuning a bass guitar to drop A as well. There isn’t too much to say about the lead synth here,;it is just playing rapid notes from a diminished scale.

The visuals really aren’t the main point of this project, but I still wanted to put together something that looks nice. I wore red and black, the same colors as Dr. Eggman, the guy you fight when this song plays. The synth solo in the second part of the cover is the only video that was recorded live as I was recording the audio. The reason for this is that I was improvising and there would have been no other way to get it to look right as I would be playing something completely different from what is shown in the video. If you look closely, the guitar isn’t even plugged in in the video. I also threw in some footage of the boss fights that this theme accompanies. The trial version watermark of shame is clearly visible, but at least I’m being honest about being cheap instead of pirating the full version.

Software used:

All audio recording was done in REAPER

Plugins from Waves Silver as well as Waves GTR Solo were used to shape the recordings

The drums were made with MT Power drumkit

All synths were created using U-He Hive

The video editing was done in Sony Movie Studio Platinum

The video was recorded with Logitech Webcam Software

The gameplay was recorded using Bandicam.

How to Impose a Person on a Background

This is my tutorial for the I’m Ready For My Closeup assignment. The assignment requires you to place a portrait of a person over an inappropriate background. This is my way of doing this. It is not the only way or even necessarily the best way.

First, pick a portrait you would like to use. I will be using this picture of myself in a warm winter coat. I will be using Gimp for this tutorial. I highly recommend using a graphics tablet as well, as it will make certain steps far easier. My tablet is a Wacom Intuos.

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The original picture is a JPEG, so it doesn’t have transparency. The first step is to fix that by right clicking on the layer and clicking on “Add Alpha Chanel.”

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Now that transparency works, the next step is to erase the background. Notice a few things here.

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I am using the eraser tool. I have a soft brush setting and I have smooth stroke active. Smooth stroke corrects my strokes and makes them less jagged. I almost never use my graphics tablet without this. Play with the settings until you find what you like. The soft brush is more forgiving of mistakes than a hard brush and it allows me to feather the edge a little bit so that the portrait fits more naturally over a background.

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I also have pressure opacity active. This is the main reason I suggest using a graphics tablet. Mouses are not pressure sensitive, so this setting doesn’t work with them. Pressure opacity makes it so that the brush will show up more strongly the harder you press on the tablet. This gives me a much greater degree of control over how hard or soft the erased edge is. It also allows me to lightly erase the edges of my hair so that it blends naturally into the background of the final image.

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Notice the edge of my hair has a lower opacity than the rest of the image. Screenshot (317).png

Now it is time to place the image over a background. I got this image from SnappyGoat, a large collection of public domain images. You could stop here if you wanted to, but I would advise going farther.

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Duplicate the background and go to color>colorize. Play with these settings. I like this warm, pinkish red.

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Now drop the opacity and set the blending mode of the layer to “Overlay.” Play with the opacity until you like how it looks. Notice how much warmer this makes the background look.

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Now, merge the overlay down and go to filter>blur>Gaussian blur. Play with the settings until you have something you like. This blur will make the finished image look much deeper and more realistic.Screenshot (323).png

Now, duplicate the portrait and colorize it, similar to what you did with the background. Because of how dark the forest image is, I have also darkened my image substantially to make the lighting clash less.

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Set this layer to the “overlay” blending mode and play with the opacity until it looks good. After that, export it. This is my final piece.

inthejunglesmall

 

Selfies in the Jungle

This is my response to the I’m Ready For My Closeup assignment, worth 4 stars. I had to take a closeup of someone and impose it on an inappropriate background. I placed myself in some kind of tropical jungle. This doesn’t look too outlandish until you think about it for a moment. It is super hot and humid in jungles. Who on earth would wear a winter coat like that?

I created this in Gimp. I found the jungle background on SnappyGoat, a large online collection of public domain images. I erased the background from a photo of myself and placed it over the jungle picture. I duplicated the jungle image and made the copy a reddish pink color. I reduced the opacity and set to overlay to warm up the background. I also did this to the photo of myself, but I darkened the photo of myself to make it fit better into the scene. I put a Gaussian blur on the background to make the image look deeper.

A more detailed tutorial of how I did this is available here.

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He Who Makes an Emoji out of Himself

This is my response to the Mashing Friends and Emojis assignment, worth 4 stars. I had to put a picture of a person next to an emoji with a similar expression. I found this picture of my dad that I thought was kind of funny that also reminded me of the toothy grin emoji.

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As I was placing the images in the layout, “Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold started playing in my head and it reminded me of a certain quote by Samuel Johnson: “He who makes a beast out of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” My adaptation made me giggle so I decided to use it. As usual, I made this in Inkscape.

Week 11 comments

Here is a list of the comments I left during Week 11.

Daily Routine

My Favorite Thing to Do: Video Games!

Where do your Shoes take you? (4 stars)

5 Seconds Of Fame

How to thread a serger..

 

The Story of Reverend Evadne Tuxhorn

This is my response to the Mini Documentary assignment. I had to create a short documentary about a person’s life, however, there was a catch: the person couldn’t be a close friend or family member. Given my shy and reclusive nature, I thought this would be a big problem at first. I then realized that my mom hangs out with some very interesting people, so I asked if I could interview one of her friends for the video. I was specifically thinking about interviewing Evadne Tuxhorn, so I asked my mom to talk to her about it and she agreed to do it.

Evadne Tuxhorn is a psychic and the minister of a Christian Spiritualist church in Wells Kansas. She was a very interesting person to talk to. Conducting the interview was a lot easier than I expected it to be. I really only had to ask a few questions and Evadne gave me a lot work with. The hardest part of the project was determining what was important enough to go into the final, 2-3 minute film. I had around 24 minutes of total recorded speech. I put in some panning shots of various parts of her house to really give viewers a feel for her environment.