12 August 2017

The Oval Portrait

My first attempt at Edgar Allen Poe. This was challenging on several levels, mostly getting it done in a much quicker pace than I normally would so it could be presented to the "Another Hole in the Head" film festival before I leave for a photo voyage soon.

The original story is short and pretty basic, perfect for animation but it was pretty flowery in prose as a lot of Poe is so some of that had to be cut down and worked into something where the text isn't competing with the visuals to the point of being distracting.

This marks the 5th gothic horror animated short in a row that I've done and unless I can somehow start getting paid for them, I would like to switch to something more cartoon-y next as a break. I have plenty of other horror stories lined up so I doubt this will be the last but it's good to shake things up a bit!

08 August 2017

Boston Icons

One more for practice. These are sort of fun to do so expect more in future. 

03 August 2017

Some progress on my next animation - The Oval Portrait - based on the story by Edgar Allen Poe. I rendered the wife with an alpha channel and the painted in Affinity and Photoshop layers of the painting in progress, almost to completion. This will be projected on to the canvas as the artist works to give the impression time is passing.

01 August 2017

Iconic Montreal & Provincetown designs

Again, more practice in Affinity Designer and trying to keep my skills up until business picks up again! 

12 July 2017

Affinity Designer - practice projects

I have been trying to get more deeply into Affinity Designer lately. I started with a quick project for a friend. he wanted very clean illustrations based on crop circles which presented some challenging elements but also taught me some important new tools in the software.

Drawing and particularly using the pen tool in AD is so much easier than in Illustrator! While Ad still lacks in some areas.. no spiral tool or warping tools - to name a couple examples - the ease of drawing almost made up for their absence in most cases.

Next I decided to re-create a friend's tattoo and my own as I didn't have any drawings of them oddly, just photos with them visible in them. The only image I had of mine was from a 20 year old photo website of mine in .SWF format (Flash)!

The biggest challenge was my friend's tattoo. There are not very clear photos, its complicated (an adaption of a voodoo vévé) and even the actual tattoo has faded and blurred to the extent that many details were lost. I do love vévé drawings, however and it might not be 100% accurate but it has a hand drawn look i did not expect from a vector drawing program. I am actually thinking if incorporating a vévé design into my tattoo at some point now.

30 June 2017

Obduction - game review

Obduction is a game I have been waiting for years to come out. made by Cyan, the same people who gave us the original Myst games, games I love to this day and replay now and then, I was really looking forward to it and playing a game with no violence and allowed me to explore a place at my own pace.

So the game finally has arrived and it's pretty wonderful. While some people complain about stuttering or bugs I haven't really experienced much of that, or maybe I haven't experienced more of of it than I see with most games I play.

Visually and storewide it doesn't disappoint and was well worth the wait. The renderings and landscapes are breathtaking, artistic and beg to be explored. The interactions with the residents of the world are limited mostly to video clips which is fine, though I know some people wished there would be more character interaction - it's not something I want from a Myst-like game.

Speaking of Myst-like like. this game does not loo like the games from the series or follow the plot or have any thematic connection to them. It is very much it's own thing and I applaud the makers for that. Where it resembles that previous franchise is in the gameplay and feeling of the environments. Like those past  project, Obduction has many puzzles to solves and nooks and crannies to explore but follows it's own rules and aesthetics.

To be 100% honest, I am reviewing this game without finishing playing it. The reason why is the one thing I find wrong with this new adventure. Some of the puzzles involve math, literally they do and that's not my strong point, but you can find solutions online and hints and get past them easy enough and continue to explore. I have reached one area, the "maze" which embodies the worst tendencies that Cyan games puts into some of it's puzzles. It's pretty much impossible to solve even with cheating, especially if you missed a step. If you do manage to figure it out, it involves so much back tracking and repetitive action that's it is just a total gamer killer in terms of enjoyment.

So I am now re-starting the game from the beginning, following a guide to get past the log-jam of the "maze" so I can actually finish the game. Disappointing to be sure but I would still say on balance it's well worth getting and playing. I am not unhappy with my purchase, just this one part of it that really goes too far in terms of difficulty. I am sure there are those that find this sort of thing the reason to play, but I am just as sure that most of Cyan's fans are more like me, liking the puzzles but loving the exploration more.

I know there are two endings and I hope they are better than the tow endings of Quern I recently finished, where both basically took you to the same place. I also hope that, like the original Myst, I can walk around and see some thing is might have missed after the game is over.

I am finally out of the maze! The guide I used wasn't totally clear but I managed to follow it enough to get it set up so the maze would take me to all the locations and i went beyond that, but not to the end of the game - yet. I also discovered in a comment that ALL the bridges can be activated using the the same code which saved a lot of time trying to match each bridge to a different code.