30 March 2009

Séance de photo avec Marlene

Cette fin de semaine je pris les photos de notre ami Marlene. Il est long temps depuis j'ai fait les séances de photo, mais Il est allé très bien je pensent!

19 March 2009

Skye Institute - updates

The Sky Institute recently had some updates to classes and schedules. I also design the logo which is seen in all their literature and publicity.

Skye Institute a récemment eu quelques mises à jour aux classes et aux programmes. J'ai désigné également le logo qui est vu dans toutes leur littérature et publicité.

17 March 2009

A few of my favourite things....Cinema 4D

As I’ve been getting deeper into the new C4D update I’ve noticed some features, new and old that I really like. A favourite function is a fleeting thing and depends on the type of work you are doing however so I imagine I’ll come back to again in a few months with a completely different list.

1) Layered animation tracks. My goodness this is something animators dream of. There is room for improvement but it’s really a time saver and make complex animations go far easier than ever before. In short, you set a layer called “Legs” for example and then you make all the leg animations on that layer. You can the make another for “arm” etc. When you are done you can view just a timeline of the legs, tweak them and not effect the other parts of the animation. You can also make them extreme and then lower the percentage they are used to soften them.. all on the fly. This gives you the change to make unlimited walk cycles for example from a basic one without having to re-animate the puppet.

2) Motion layer tracks. This is almost the same thing but contain entire animation sequences such as a walk, run or jump that can be loops (well when the they fix the looping bug they can) and combine and mix them by percentage also.. giving unlimited possibilities without having to re-animate. This feature would be great if you had to make a weekly animated TV show, for example. All you would need to do is make all the basic actions for each character and then mix and match the motion layers to get pretty much most of what you need for very little effort. It could save months of production time. For single person studios like mine, it allows flexibility I normally wouldn’t get as the lone animator.

3) The Visual Selector. Was I ever wrong about this one. I had no interest at all at first as it seemed a silly gimmick. As it turns out, it is now the only way I’d control a character. Simply take an image of the object you want animated... you can combine images in photoshop if you like and then drag and drop controllers in the spot you want. You can also set the primary tool used, rotation for a the head controller is one example. Setting it up takes time but it is well worth the effort. One buggy thing is once something is there, it seems impossible to remove it. A simple delete either in the image selector or in the hotspot panel doesn’t seem to do it! So if you really don’t wan tit anymore, you have to redo the whole thing. That will be addressed soon enough I suspect, but as a time saving tool, this is really indispensable. I can also have more than one for each puppet so a very complex puppet can be broken down into easier, smaller sections of controls.

More to come on this subject involving Photoshop and others!

10 March 2009

My Digital Revolution - part three

After the internet started taking hold of things a lot changed and not just with online software. For years I had made short films, mostly in Super 8 and aided in some 16 mm films as well. I really loved film making and effects work but it was simply too far out of my budget to even consider it anymore. I actually cried the day I sold my Bell and Howell Super 8 camera (I loved the thing!). Then on day Apple introduced, free with the OS, Imovie and I digitized my old films and re-edited them. God bless my ex-boyfriend at the time. He saw how excited I was to work on film again and spent all his money to get me a video camera that holiday season. I made a couple of documentaries, one about him and another on my grandmother (Big MA). I won an award for Big MA, then for other films I made, soon I had a small showing at a movie house in Provincetown and eventually 2 of my films were shown on Canadian TV. Of course, everyone reading this thinks I must be filthy rich... everyone who gets in the movies is rich.. non? No at all... to this date my most expensive film cost about 200$ and TV never paid me a dime, the movie house netted a pretty sum of 176.52$ I believe. That “you much be rich” attitude really burns me at times. Every artist gets it... “you paint so well you should sell them and make a fortune!” What world do these people live in? Where will this money come from exactly? Most of the time the people saying it have never bought an original piece of art in their lives, like about 95% of any given population. Artistic urges are like a mental illness, you need to do it or you can’t cope. Satisfying as it is for an artist to make art, it mostly goes unseen and unnoticed and certainly, unpaid for by anyone but the artist him or herself.

I did get attention form some friend who encouraged me who were in the production biz. One gave me software to help me out.. Final Cut Pro, Cinema 4D etc. The other gave me some advice, training and eventually work doing de-rigging (a tedious chore I actually love to do). At the same time, I convinced several clients to go online with their work flow which let me work easily from my studio on several things at once and not having to wait for FedEX to deliver crucial information and files. It was all looking very rosy for a while. I always seem to be 1 or 2 steady clients away from a livable income however... even now. I’ve done some very top notch work, but always just not enough to get the steady contracts. I suspect I am in the majority of contractors in this respect.

Animation is another hobby of mine I am slowly able to explore in ways I never could have before. I’ve surprised myself with several animation awards when, truth be told, I had no idea what Iw as doing when I made those films. The MAC continues to be my machine of choice, I’d really like the new 8 core tower to improve my speed and render times but that seems a little like a dream world right now.

In many ways, I am living my dreams... the stuff I can do with my photography and film work was unthinkable a short time ago. My level of experience in Photoshop, Final Cut, After Effects etc are expert and I can only hope eventually, after this self made financial world crisis is over, those skills will be in demand again and the economy of hiring someone like me online will appeal to more and more tech savvy employers.

All in all, the future, though tough right now, still will offer opportunities I can’t even imagine right now. The digital revolution, in which I was swept up in, has changed how I communicate, work and do my art. Even a “nobody” like me in this new world (I am no Steve Jobbs or Bill gates obviously) benefits.

Boston Absolute Massage update

Masseur extraudinaire Micheal Keamy had his simple one page site updated recently. If you are in Boston be sure to hire him, he give a truly amazing massage.

08 March 2009

c'est fini!

After many stops and starts, "Hérisson Maudit" is finally done. It's very short, basically it was insprired by a visit to a friend who had a pet.. cute... and very noisy... not to mention a bit... psycho.

05 March 2009

Digital Revolution - part two

During the 90’s the digital revolution was really taking hold. I had made a few websites by then and was using Quark Express for design work on an old MAC using system 7 I think. For the most part, the Amiga was still going strong (in my studio anyway) and was my workhorse computer. I used a software called “Pagestream” which is still made for multi-platform, that was 100 times better than either pagemaker or Quark and ran off 2 floppy disks! When Adobe came out with Indesign, it’s interface and functions were suspiciously close to Pagestream I thought. It was the first computer I could get online with. At first there were only “bulletin boards” which were like early chat rooms. You could chat with text and download images as well... mostly porn. It seems the internet started with porn and went on from there. Of course at that time, 56k was considered “lightning fast” and the only connections were through the phone lines... blocking any incoming calls. I think we were the 1st in the neighborhood to get a DSL line.

The internet went in spurts and starts... it’s hard to believe now that there were no search engines at one point and you literally found things by typing in http://wwww-fill in word here_.com to see if anything was there. People got noticed solely by linking with other sites... electronic word of mouth. When I put an image on my website.. people were amazed it could be done. Animated gif.. so tacky and low tech now were the hight of animation online. As things progressed I learned Dreamweaver and Flash and was making interactive sites. With all this being ahead of the game I should have made a bundle during those years when if you knew the word “internet” you were an expert and got a 6 figure job somewhere. Sadly one of my best friends (as well as 100’s of others I knew) became ill at this time and I spent my energy on him and them. Basically I missed the boat. In the long run, taking care of a sick friend is worth a life of poverty afterwards if you think you made a little difference... and I do. (Anyone have any work out there in this economic mess?)

I had to give up the Amiga during this time also... it just wasn’t going to last and I needed something I could get work on. I tried the PC on and off... but like most creative people, the Apple was the machine of choice. I have been a little disappointed in the Windows world... all those resources and they just don’t make a system I can relate to. Plus, face it, over the last 10 years Apple has produced some pretty amazing and beautiful machines. What else could artists/designers ask for? I still think the PC world has some advantages of MAC in some areas but not many these days. I say use what works for you... most things are totally interchangeable these days... why fight about apples and oranges?

After settling on a computer I liked, I came into the 21st century with all new tools. In many mays the new tech changed my life completely and in other ways, brought me back to my roots and true passions.

Next.. what I mean by all that.

04 March 2009

Part One my digital evolution

My entry into the world of design came long before the arrival of the computer. I started doing illustrations for advertisements and setting up text, which in those days meant using rub on letters (one by one on white paper the size of the ad) and hoping you made no mistakes. There is no “erase” or “control Z” with those things. Design was a lot more art oriented and a lot less tech oriented back then. You still had to be fast and able to change things last minute, so that much has stayed the same. My specialty was pen and ink illustrations, tedious work that I really love to do. I did an entire catalog of hats once for a local hat-maker in Boston that took weeks to finish.

By the 80’s things were changing. I was one of those who had a Vic-20, one of if not the 1st home computer. It basically did next to nothing but in those days, the little it could accomplish seemed miraculous. I didn’t do much else with computers until the Amiga arrived. This platform still exists for a small number of diehards and I have to say it was my favourite of all time. It had the visual “double click” method of a Mac and the ability to fiddle with the DOS. The graphics were amazing, in fact digital effects for shows like “Babylon 5” were all Amiga based and still hold up today. Many TV stations used Amigas to run themselves also, but it never caught on with the public in any case. With it I started to change my work flow to include the computer. At first just text which now could be corrected, spell checked and changed instantly was a huge step forward and a big time saver. My computer has 100 megs of hard drive and 8 megs of RAM... a super computer in those days! I remember friends asking me “What on earth could you use all the memory and RAM for?”

Before long is was printing in “photographic” colour.. using all all 64 colours and 16 shades of gray available in a state of the art ribbon printer. My first scanner looked like a window wiper and had to be dragged manually across the image very slowly and precisely. For colour, you needed to make 3 very precise red, green and blue passes... all by hand. Of course I thought the results were spectacular. Not quite “press ready” however.

During this period, I experimented with 3d too. A single image with transparency would take 25 hours to render. This was “blazing fast” unless you had a dedicated “Video Toaster” system which used Lightwave as the 3D modeler. Out of my range financially, but I really, really wanted one.

Home computing was still very young, convincing clients to use use the stuff produced ion them impossible. I KNEW that this was the future somehow... the technology advanced more all the time and I could just see on the horizon a time when all work would be done on home computers.

Next... MAC-PC and The internet