16 January 2018

Space station 2018



I have a couple projects I come back to every now and then to see if I can do better or how much faster my new software/computer is using the projects as a way to compare render times etc.

This one I did originally to encourage a friend to write a story he wanted to write and I liked it enough to keep reworking it.

The big difference this time was cutting the render time dramatically by using textures to detail the model instead of polygons so the model is really simple overall. I was also able to add many more details which I think make the station look much larger.

Below: the 2015 image is on top and the new on below.

31 December 2017

Bilan 2017

So I don't usually summarize the year at it's end but I've been thinking about doing it the last few months, so why not?

I think for many people, in general it was pretty stressful year to say the least. The American election to my south was shocking and continues to be. Politics aside, my year was personally full of ups and downs. I lost several friends, one was total gut punch and I did not take it well. I also had no substantial contracts and made less money than pretty much ever in working life. My home needed 20 000$ in renovations which worked out well, just not for my already too small retirement fund.

On the plus side, I was pretty busy with my own projects. Lots of drawings and I finished 5 animations which is a record, I think! 2 of those films were presented at the Another Hole in the Head film festival in San Fransisco and one was another education short for Christopher Labos at The Body of Evidence podcast.  2 more were huge challenge for me and I find them to be a success in furthering my character design and cartoon animation skills. I got to work with Mike Luce a lot more and with Michael Z Keamy - both who are nice enough to help me by lending their voices to my work. Keamy and I also made headway on a Walt Whitman project we have been talking about for YEARS. I was able to see quite a few people I haven't in a very long time when I spent a few days in Provincetown and my brother and I went to Colorado to take photos - which was another project we talked about for years and had not gotten around to. The TV show I worked on was in the running for a international Emmy - which somehow did not translate into a third season, at least not so far.

I made huge leaps in my work abilities. A lot of things came together in my head finally and I also found many ways to get things done faster and more efficiently. If I ever get hired again, I'll be able to accomplish more than ever before and much quicker

So here I am, hoping 2018 brings real, paying work. In the meantime I have 2-3 animations being planned out with Mr. Luce and a new Lovecraft film in production. So while I might keep being poor, I won't be bored. I will need to find part time work somewhere, somehow... the only posts readily viable see to be working at sauna (sex clubs) and that is not very appealing. As my mom always says, Beggars can't be choosers!

2018 is the year of the dog, and I have one and have been called one on occasion so maybe that's a good sign for the coming 365 days.

16 December 2017

Dramatic Readings: Swim! Eddie, Swim!



This time famous actor at large, Charles Webster Billingsworth the third takes on a dramatic scene from the film classic, Jaws 2.
Voice work once again by Mike Luce.

03 December 2017

Dramatic readings: To be or Not to be



I have finished a new animation project with the always helpful voice work of Mike Luce. Basically, it's a filmed theatre piece of a great (platypus) thespian (over)acting Hamlet's most famous speech in front of an adoring audience. 

The purpose of doing this (other than getting it out of my head like all my other projects) was to expand my possibilities with cartoon-like characters. Making them and rigging them has always been difficult for me but I seem to have broken through a wall and made it to another place this time out. 

I normally rig my characters using Cactus Dan's tools for C4D, but sadly, he has passed and I realized if I ever upgraded C4D above version 16, I will lose access to those tools and needed to try the character object autorig. Very luckily, Everfresh (from the C4D cafe) has made a cartoon rig template for the character object and provided it for free and it is a glorious thing. His tutorials on how to use it also clearly explained some things about the auto rigging that had prevented me form using it before so I expect for now on, I'll be going that route. My cousin Sheila helped a bit by reviewing the look of  Charles and critiquing some early animations, especially his theatrical strut. 

Mike Luce was an amazing help getting this done and always encouraging. In fact he has already voiced a second one of these to be done... soon-ish. 

I hope people like this, it takes a lot out me mentally and even physically to incarnate this sort of character and bring it to life. To Be or Not to Be in sort of proof of concept project - meaning I made it more difficult than it needed to be to see if I could pull it off. 

11 November 2017

Kiwi in the Kitchen

I am as far as I can go with my next animation project until I have the voice work done, so I decided to make a simple character, something I've been thinking about a long time, for practice and to prepare and to keep in good form for the coming projects.


So this is a breakdown of the model, wireframe, textured and finally hair added. It's a kiwi bird if you didn't know already. I looked at lots of photos, skeletons, cartoon drawings and other animations to get inspired... but oddly I totally forgot what got me interested in the kiwi to begin with... this short animation which I think s brilliant!



I saw it years ago and honestly if I had remembered it, my version would have come out very different. Still I'm happy enough with mine for now.

I used the Character object in C4D for the rigging, they have bird template That was pretty simple to use as it's just a body with a hard and legs... no wings or arms or hands or anything complicated.

When done I made a little walk sequence.



Then took it little further and decided he should take a stroll in my kitchen.


22 October 2017

The Witness - game review


I finally finished the Witness on Steam (It was recently released for IOS as well.)
Overall the game is impressive in both its design and extensive world footprint. A puzzle game set on an island, it brings Myst to mind immediately, but veers off in a very different direction. The biggest change is there isn't a story of any kind to follow, so there really isn't anything to spoil as it's just puzzle solving and exploration. The puzzles are pretty much all of one kind, tracing paths on screens to activate more screens and to open doors. There is a surprising amount of variety I didn't expect in puzzles with such limited parameters.

The looks of the game is very much like an illustration and the scenery is beautifully done and includes lots of little fun extras, like rock formations that make characters from certain angles and it even using your shadow in fun ways here and there. There a re a few little hidden alcoves that serve no purpose other than to show you a cool little part of the mysterious island.

If you are looking for meaning... or a solution to what happened on the island - forget it, it's not coming and it obviously wasn't meant to be explained. This is a pure explore and solve experience with not consequences and I appreciated that.

Game play was fairly smooth on my iMac and while, like all these puzzle games, there are a few parts that will drive you crazy (even with cheating) there was nothing as frustrating as the maze puzzle in Obduction to worry about.

So, overall, fun to look at, a good diverting game!