Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Technically, the shark is a commission, but it was commissioned at the totally economically viable price of $0.00 CDN (adjusted for inflation). It's the shark from my storyboard, so I just had fun with it, design be damned. 

Apparently, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2's not entirely lost to the depths of oblivion. Recent tweets have confirmed that there's still hope!

Bastion is a magnificent game. Gorgeous art design, smooth, intuitive controls, smart game play mechanics, and models are made so that they fit the painted art style PERFECTLY. I dig the story telling aspects too, mostly just how the entire thing seems to be one storybook narration (meaning they only needed one really good voice actor, which is a brilliant stylistic and financial decision). The community outreach stuff they did, especially the GiantBomb documentary, is what really gives indie development (it was essentially made by seven people, so I just ignore the giant WB logo) this magical, impossible odds feel.

I also listened through ALL of the podcast Guys With Pencils (thanks Christine) in what was essentially one sitting. Indeed, as I lead this incredibly rich and fast paced lifestyle, I've had time to do a lot of reflecting on the immensity of the content. They're two Sheridan grads who share their workplace experiences, as well as their academic life.Their interviews are racking up an increasingly impressive list of interviewees, all of whom have unique perspectives to share on the entertainment industry in general. TIME WELL SPENT.

I'm also finally actually really making stuff for that 24 hour film I said I was going to do 43 years ago. Above are "character explorations", below are BG's. There isn't really any tangible design in the characters, just like how there really isn't any tangible art style. I'm using this as a chance to get more hands-on experience with Flash, and maybe do a little pixel art. Just experimenting, basically, and hopefully under the 24 hour mark (all the BG's are basically 3 elements copypasted).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dabblin', Hireland

This semester has been ounce for ounce one of the more interesting periods of my life. To think of how we juggled so many deadlines around while simultaneously maintaining our sanity... I think I still have nightmares about allnighters. 

The first half of second year is like this series of hills. It's got a respectable number of highs, but an unsettling number of lows. Nestled behind all achievements are immense valleys that I seem to have spent the lion's share of my time in. In regards to actually performing the namesake of this program, I don't actually have anything presentable. Animation is one of those things that I sincerely feel like I've dropped the ball on this semester. Due to my phenomenally poor time management abilities and delusional goals (and and then, he's gonna like, summon a meteor, and we'll have this slow mo scene of the meteor cresting through the clouds, and then we'll have this cool 3d perspective shot of him casting a spell and IT'LL BE AWESOME), I haven't been able to fulfill any of my animation propositions this semester. At any rate, I'm hoping to devote some of my winter break trying to clean up the salvageable ones, in the hopes that they might become presentable later on.

The greatest gains I've made this semester aren't really academic (HA!), or even artistic. Hell, I'm lucky to be passing some my classes at all, what with some of the embarrassing crap I've been producing. Still, I've learned a great deal more about the state of my future professions, and my potential place in those industries. I've learned from friends on how they plan to focus their talents, and I've learned from instructors about the complexity of plying an artistic trade. Honestly, I think the greatest value we get from Sheridan is the atmosphere of mutual exchange, or the opportunity to toss around ideas and aspirations with like minded people. Maybe it's something about those allnighters, but they really get people into a philosophical mood. I truly felt like my perspective on life has benefited from those exchanges. Hopefully, all these nuggets of wisdom I've managed to scrounge will coalesce into something resembling a clear focus, which might eventually dictate what I should devote my time to. Until then though, it's simply an exciting journey.

I've been working on this for a while. It feels like I'm trying to realize these cool light effects, but not doing any of them right, which is frustrating.The thing above is the final painting plus the initial sketch. I really need to actually study Egyptian aesthetics before I try this again, cause the generic designs are getting tiring to look at. 

AND a 30 min thumbnail (that's pushing "thumbnail" a little, I think. Maybe a speed paint?). You may ask, "why, that's just a black box with a white highlight on the lower left"! Well, you're not wrong. I plan on making it not a black box later. Or maybe just a very highly rendered black box. I just wanted to do something in light of the cancellation of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and the closure of GSC. At least we'll always have the 100 Rads.

I apologize in advance for the next few images. They depict people. Perhaps poorly. Remember folks, every time you press a lawsuit, a kitten is put to work in a factory with LOWER THAN MINIMUM WAGE!

People around the studio. I could always push things more, and I don't always catch my significant structure problems and design problems, but now I know. Thanks Pete! 

DQ's chalk talks have ended up being one of the most valuable resources this year, and I think I've learned more about the intricacies of story telling and the "Industry" than I ever realized existed. So obviously, I'm uneasy about drawing him in such an unceremonious way. The Iron Lady though, not so much.

Here's one of my painting thumbnails for my storyboard assignment (the only one I dare show people, at any rate), which is about a shark. I understand that its drawn like a 3rd grader's first time with a colored pencil, one of those things I'm trying to do is develop a simpler, more efficient style for quick drawings.

I put up the Leica Reel too, just to round out the assignment. It is actually the first fully timed piece of production I've ever made, and despite the timing inconsistencies, the whole process gives off this sense of accomplishment. A more cohesive soundtrack would have helped it time better, and not using two licensed tracks might help it not be taken down within the hour. On the other hand, I don't think I'll ever get another chance to mesh the Jaws Theme and the 1812 Overture, so there's that. Truly, it's a learning experience.

Oh, and here's my Christmas card.

There are things we draw out of frustration with life, which do not reflect our true feelings towards, say, a particular species of animal. When I did this, we were going for the most repulsive thing possible. I should have added more maggots.

Seriously though, it's not for everyone 

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Animal Drawings, Caricatures and... uh.......... EPA?

The Chalk Talk was enlightening. There's certainly quite a bit to think about, but most of it is just wrestling with the immensity of Animation as a field. In addition to incorporating aspects of academic fine art, we're a combination Theatre/Film Making course. At some point, most of us will have to make some kind of duty call to focus a on particular facet of the program, or else risk being stretched too thin over the options. I guess it boils down to being either a story teller, an actor, or a draftsman, with each requiring a unique skill set. Last night's most daunting presentation was on the intricacies of story telling, with its structural complexity and its symbolic depth. Apparently, good storytellers operate in the abstract almost as much as in the concrete, which is manipulated to a T in order to serve narrative continuity. 


I've got a bunch of sketches for different parts of a futuristic supercity with an Egyptian twist. I'm using them to abuse the Blur filter. Maybe I'll learn something from them. 

This painting still has that really unsatisfactory, unfinished quality to it. Everything just isn't working together. This is something that I hope to iron out with more time and practice.

My last character assignment didn't blow over like I had planned. They're pretty far from stellar. Subterranean, even. I know I certainly didn't plan to work on them at 4 AM on the day they were due, for one. To compensate, here's a painting of one of them. 

Bob Jorn of the Oslo Jorns, PROUD VIKING WARRIOR. 

The best kinds of victories in life are assured victories. Congrats to everyone who drew a bear and a tangram.  At least on this occasion, we have all triumphed over life, beat it into unconsciousness, ruined its credit rating and sold its kidneys to organ snatchers in Acapulco. 

Would it still be called the Royal WINTER Fair, even though it's still autumn? Anyway, animal drawings from the Royal Autumn Fair. I enjoyed not having to draw as much this year, but depressingly, I don't see any notable improvement from last year. I'll need to work harder.

 I play a paragon Vanguard in Mass Effect. He looks like but is not explicitly a certain captain of a certain space faring vessel under a certain interplanetary federation. Commander Jean-Luc Shepard, colonist war hero. He's actually British.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vandalism or Compensation

I am totally devoting every ounce of my being towards the realization of my 24 hour film. Totally. They'll need to assemble a legion, NAY, A MIGHTY HORDE of troubadours to chronicle the saga of my dedication to creating short films within dictated time frames. When the High Scions of short animated film making in the distant future speak of this era to their neophytes, they will recount the tales of my
I'm just shitting you.

What I have now is barely on par with a Naruto AMV. 
Crawling and stuff yo.

Of course, that's not to say I've been on this for 20 hours. This little thing called Rocrastination-Pay had a lot to do with it. I've been realistically working for about 30 minutes. Anyway, I'm just taking my 53rd consecutive break. 

Halloween fanart/dodging real work post. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lily of the Valley

We have an animation due in less than 50 hours, and I've put about as much work into it as I have towards my dream of becoming an airbender. 

This is my lift and toss character. He's a magician, though he's more of a Geller than a Houdini. From my experiences at unsuccessfully animating him, I can honestly say that I prefer my good friend the Bouncing Ball, who was a far better conversationalist. 

Here's a "layout" for Caple's class. I say "that" because, as Scott says, it's really more of a smattering of tones than a layout. Also, apparently my laptop screen displays blacks as a sort of light gray. On normal computers, this "layout" is basically a black box.

This is actually our first for reals storyboard. The draftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired, but I personally like the story. It gets mixed reception though, unsurprisingly, since it requires a few pieces of culturally specific background information, as opposed to just being funny by its own right. This is something I need to work harder on in the future, assuming I still have one after this weekend's animation assignment.

 And Thursday sketches. They are all from some kind of Thursday, because our supplementary elective course is just such ripe ground for fostering creativity. I like to attribute this phenomenon to the soft hum of mildly partisan rhetoric, which is probably what Homer's muse sounded like.

Finally, a painting. An actual, honest to goodness no jokes pigment on pulped tree bark painting. I realized that as far as my current abilities are concerned, I'll never have a real gouache painting that I can be proud of. In light of this revelation, I think it's better to sort of come to terms with what I CAN accomplish now, and set some kind of starting point that I can look back on as I try to improve. I like the lighting in the tonal better, but it has a few major tangents that I didn't notice until the very end. The painting itself has inferior lighting and sense of space, and the character size relationships are distorted. 

It's more like 49 hours now. Sleep is only a prelude to more animating, and in some insane way, I feel like putting off sleep will help put more conscious time between me and the animation. EXTREME procrastination, or slow descent into animation induced madness?