31 March 2020
Not being able to sleep much has it's advantages. I finished this drawing this morning and I am pretty happy with it overall. I did not just adjust the greyscale to produce colour this time and painted with colour as well, especially for adding additional red tone to the skin on the face to show the blood rushing to his head.
30 March 2020
I don't really think anyone is all that interested in my process, but I have been posting more lately, both here and at Celluloid Slammer since it might give my 1-3 readers something to distract themselves for the current drama going on around us all.
The software is Affinity Photo which I find works well for my colour stuff. This is pretty typical of my set up. There is a blue pencil guide sketch to help me keep in mind the entire structure of the drawing. Under that are layers for the skin areas (head and arms, another is legs) and another with the clothing. I often work 100% in greyscale so I can recolour it later with HSL adjustments. It is easier for me than using coloured brushes. I think its because my background in physical paining is so limited and my pencil and ink stuff makes up most of my work. So it's unusual for me to have blocked out the red, black and white areas of the clothing. I just thought, given the extreme pose, it would be easier for me to visualize as I progressed.
I have not decided exactly how to do the tattoos, but I think on a separate layer and then using a blending layer to integrate them on the skin. The hair was black so I used pen techniques for that.
I think once the skin parts are done the rest will come together quickly. For some reason I have had luck with cloth folds and can do them fairly confidently. This was started a month ago and with all that is going on (including my dog dying) I just have not been able to focus on anything for more than a couple minutes at a time.
Small update below:
24 March 2020
21 March 2020
Another in my sometimes series of turning a citation into a poster-like graphic. This time is is from a title card in King Vidor's silent film, The Crowd which is personal favourite of mine. Made in Affinity Designer.
20 March 2020
Montreal is closed down like many other places so I was able to go out during the morning rush time and take photos with no one, literally no one around. The underground corridors for the Metro were empty of everything except the sound of a howling wind. Where that sound came from as it's underground.
18 March 2020
My nephew is home from university, like the ret of the world and asked me to do this 30 second animation for him so, of course, I did. Lighting was a challenge for some reason, I need to think more about making lightbulbs look like they should. I added little details like the fans move at different speeds and dust particles in the air but tried to keep it simple. There is a slight camera shake to keep it looking less mechanical.
13 March 2020
I am ashamed to say I haven't drawn on paper in years now. It simply isn't as easy as doing it on a computer terms of setting up and materials needed. The image above is from a new sketchbook I got for the holidays and was rendered with Ebony pencil on paper - the subject... just things within reach.
Drawing in real media does have its set backs but it also has many advantages... it's more tactile, your ability to see something in front of you and render it live and quickly is a great tool for improving how you draw and see the world. The limited ability to correct mistakes or zoom in 500% for details make sys pat closer attention to what you are doing and as a result, you learn more about the subject and how to represent things in the real world as art.
Oddly it didn't feel weird sitting down at my drawing table, located next to tay computer desk to remind me I should be using it, in the slightest. This is not high art or even great sketching but I am happy I didn't completely "lose it" and am surprised and happy that what I drew looked somewhat like what I was drawing.
07 March 2020
While at first glance, this update does not seem like more than a small update and that is true concerning the Photo and Designer apps. Both did get some nice new interface updates and a couple new features but Publisher got its first real update since its release in the summer and the additions to that are amazing.
I started using Publisher in my professional work a few months back after consulting with the print houses my clients use and doing a couple test projects. While it wasn't flush with features I found that I stopped using Indesign right away and haven't touched it much since. This update really makes the idea of going back seem even less likely.
Affinity listened to what people were after and did a good job fulfilling their desires in this release. The big addition is .idml import of Indesign project files, something many designers found crucial before switching as access to old projects is key for keeping some clients. Quark Xpress added this function not too long ago but that was about the only good thing I could say about that application. The new open dialog which allows you to save projects as templates that can be used across the suite and saved to the cloud for easy access if you are caught out of the studio and need to create something before you can get back. I plan to use use templates quite a bit for my regular clients. There is also anew ability to merge documents into one which combines the master pages and table of contents which will be great for complicated projects like magazines which could now be worked on in sections, then combined to a final version later.
Photoshop smart objects are now imported and translated to Affinity Photo pretty seamlessly making cross application work much easier and crosses off another big Photoshop feature the Affinity was lacking.
There really isn't much reason to not switch to Affinity if you have been waiting to do that and I suspect when the iPad version of Publisher is released, having the suite will be essential for graphic artists.
27 February 2020
This took a while and a lot out of me. Lots of sad memories and a few happy ones thrown in for good measure. Thanks again to Mike Luce for his wicked laugh, and he didn't even ask what it was for!
This is sort of more "epic" as well as personal for me in animation. 15 locations that all had to be designed and made and then populated with two real-ish looking humans.
This is not a documentary. I wish I was still in shape like the cyclist in the animation is 25 years later after taking care of my friend but many of the events did happen. I won't bike to Boston as I planned but I will go there this spring/summer. A bike tour would take almost a week and I don't have the funds for a week in hotels, then time in Boston and then find a way to get back home with my bike. In a way this is my attempt to come to terms with the events all those years back, it was a very tough time and I though I helped out one friend for six years, there were others for shorter periods and some of that is reflected in this as well.
Some of you might recognize certain locations... like my office, street, the bridge and several locations in Boston. Nothing is slavishly reproduced but even the biking scenes are based on several trips from Boston to Montreal.
If you see this and have opinions, tell me and watch it on You Tube, give it likes etc. I would like it to be seen and promoted somehow so please refer others to it if you think it's appropriate.
26 February 2020
It took a few yers but I finally did the third image in this series inspired, loosely, by the Fritz Lang's film of Ziegfried.
This one I decided to go experimental and use a technique I want to use more with animations in the future. Basically I drew the character and the backdrop normally but for the foreground and anvil, I made a simple grayscale 3D model the drew over that with details and added more shading etc. I made some mistakes along the way but overall it worked out, I think so anyway. I have to thank an old friend I haven't seen in decades for posing for the images I'm still using. It's not every cute, nice guy who will agree to pose in a pelt with a real sword.
The first two are below. Click any image for larger version to see more details.
09 February 2020
29 January 2020
28 Young Men, a short poem by Walt whiman read by Michael Z. Keamy and animated by me (Behemoth media).
The project has been several years in the making. Originally we wanted to do live action and scouted and filmed several locations. As time went on, it became clear that getting 28 make men to splash around on a beach for free was not really a realistic option. We needed a secluded place and no trouble from local authorities. So animation was the voice in the end.
The men barely move, (and no there are not really 28 of them but I am not exactly Pixar so we never see them all at once), the idea being they are frozen in the woman's fantasy as she imagines herself moving amongst them. The beach and house are loose representations of Newburyport where Keamy grew up and had specific locations in mind. So the advanced filming came in handy when it came to making the sets.
The water effects were done with X-particles for Cinema 4D and look pretty good to me. they are not meant to look like real water and match the cartoon look of the ocean waves.
Warning, I guess... cartoon nudity.
01 January 2020
2019 was a hard year, lately they have all been pretty hard with less revenue coming in less people wanting to pay to get work done. I was productive in many ways, however.
I finished 3 Dog & Weasel shorts to go along with my trend of cartoon animations. With them I experimented with a more cartoonish style especially in the backgrounds. At the very end of the year I got news that "The Raven" would be shown at the Sunrise Film Festival which was a HUGE help to my fragile ego.
I drew a lot more than I thought I did and started to branch out with different techniques and styles,
After two years of work I finally published a book of short stories called "Indifference" which included updated and rewritten works from as far back as the 80s.
The update to Mac OS Catalina broke a few things. I lost the pen to my Wacom tablet meaning I had to replace the tablet with a Huion version which was cheaper than replacing the pen. This worked out really well in the end. I also went head first into my dump Adobe plan after Serif released the first version of Publisher to replace Indesign. The only application I really need to replace now is After Effects and if I had the money for 300$ in plugins, Apple's Motion app would handle my current needs. Almost there.
I had a few financial, let's say surprises this past year. My dishwasher exploded for one thing. It turned into a nightmare trying to get it replaced. I ended up having to uninstall and getting rid of the broken one and installing the new one myself despite paying to have that all done by "professionals". A month later, my iMac also exploded when I was updating it. Luckily I had recently started using the Mac backup option "Time machine" and it saved me from losing any work or software.
Some pushes forward:
I did get some new contracts, some animation and some design and some photo. The new work didn't translate into regular work, sadly, which is always the goal. One very small contract just didn't pay and won't respond to emails while another was a bear to get done and it was a constant struggle with someone who apparently thought 3D was magic and simply asking for unreasonable changes was enough to get them. It always amazes how many people will demand 6000$ of work for 600$.
2020 is an unknown of course. I am starting off in a decent place with some old work coming back and some new ideas I want to try out.
I have three projects in the works. "25 Years Later", a very personal film that is about 40% completed and really different from anything else I have done. "28 Young Men", is a reading of the Walt Whitman poem by Michael Z.Keamy and is almost ready for animating. Finally "The Cask of Amontillado" will be my adaption of the Edgar Allen Poe tale and will fit in with my previous gothic horror shots.
Cinema 4D has become too expensive, is always slow to get out new features and has started a subscription model, so I will stick with version 19 and some plugins for the next couple years while I transition most likely to Blender - a free software that has really made some giant steps forward in 2019.
I want to start drawing on paper more often, I even have a couple drawing pads ready. I would like to branch out more with this part of my work as well. I might do a graphic novel, but I don't think I am close to being able to accomplish that yet and might instead go with a story with key illustrations.
With "Indifference" finally done, I actually already wrote 3 more short stories and will just keep doing that as the mood hits me and see if there is ever enough to do another book. A more intense project is called "Covenport" and will be a short novel or a series of short stories that all take place in the same location - a secluded town at the base of cliffs near Gloucester Massachusetts. That will be the one I likely illustrate.
There are some big updates coming for Affinity Publisher that should make my work go easier and further my distance from Indesign. Serif is planning an iPad release of that software this year and I would be able to do all my graphic and illustration work ion an iPad... ! This is making me seriously consider not having a laptop after this current one dies and just replace it with an iPad pro, something I can not afford anytime soon but I could use for photo shoots on voyages and for work while away from the studio.