Saturday, May 29, 2010

These are beyond fun to make.


This is actually based on a German poster from 1927. The original is gorgeous but much creepier.
These will be used in various fashions for the Tadly project. Not sure if they will ever be prints, but I would love it. I don't really know what the market is for faux travel posters featuring Tadly.

Oh! Also!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If you're in NYC this thursday...


Man and Cat at the End of the World will be showing at DoubleGlazed, along with many other great animations and motion graphicses. Go catch it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Can't not make stuff.

The new computer doesn't arrive until tomorrow and I've already reformatted and reworked Cerberus 9 with media players and emulators. No creative programs whatsoever. I attempted to pass the remainder of the evening by taking it easy and not drawing anything. I failed. Mspaint! Also, Dragon Warrior!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Farewell, Old Chum.



In the same year I was married, 2005, I was also laid off from my first animation job. I was devastated. I was living in Altoona, PA. The prior job had not paid well, nor had it really prepared me for what to do next. I was 23, had no idea what to do or where to go.

Then, a miracle happened.

Out of the clear blue sky, only a week after I lost my job, I was contacted by a producer who had happened upon my very early and rough work and wanted to know if I would be interested in doing some work on a proposed series for Gametap. Over the next year we wrangled the details together with little bits of work here and there, but the next spring the big chunk of work was finally approved and we began production. By "we", I mean myself and two friends I had strong-armed into it. I received the largest check I have ever been issued. With that check, I bought my first real computer. I had taken the crappy desktop from my old job when I left and it just wasn't up to snuff for production work, what with its 50gb hard drive, integrated graphics chip and 512mb of ram. What I purchased was, at that time, the single most powerful computer I had ever heard of, let alone used.

Behold the raw power of the Dell Precision 670!

3 gbs of ram! a 512 mb graphics card! 2.9ghz quad core! And it was HUGE! I was blown away. I immediately ran out and bought The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion, which had just come out that week and was the current high water mark for graphical prowess. To my glee, it ran at almost full specs. My flash exports flew! My monitors were large and widescreen! It was one of the most memorable times of my life, at last feeling that I could do whatever work I could put my mind to and not be fettered by my equipment. I named it Cerberus 9, after my favorite number and a figurine my wife had bought me that I had placed on top of the tower as a masthead. And things were good.

Years passed.

In the time since that spring I have grown immensely as a person, a professional and an artist. I've actually gone down a pants size, though. So that's good. But my needs have changed. HD has become standard and ol' Cerberus is from a solidly SD period of time. I find myself waiting 6 hours sometimes to render a minute or so of animation. And when Cinema 4d gets involved, things can get awful pretty quickly. Earlier this year I waited 18 hours for 24 seconds of footage. Cerberus 9 simply wasn't made for this kind of thing. Crashes were becoming a regular occurrence. Blue screens are now not an irregular happening. And freezes are common. It took me a week to put together my latest reel because the computer just couldn't hack all of those video clips. It has been a very busy 4 years and I have used this computer more rigorously than anyone other I know. The time has come to move on.

I ordered a new computer last week and it should be here tomorrow. I am incredibly excited. A new workstation is like 5 birthdays rolled into one, and this workstation is approximately 3 times more powerful than I current one. Six multi-core 3.33 ghz processors. 1.5 gb graphics card. 12 gbs of memory. 1tb hard drive. I can't wait to see how quickly these renders go. If I can eve half the render time, I'll be happy. And where does this leave Cerberus 9? Where do old workstations go when they are retired? They are formatted, brought downstairs and are made into the most over-powered media centers known to man. Within a few weeks, Cerberus 9 will be your one-stop destination for every movie and tv show we have, as well as every NES, SNES, Genesis game ever released. We even have usb-SNES controllers. I'll probably be setting up every emulator I can find and if some current job offers go right, I'll be hunting down usb adapters for many other types of controllers. It will be hooked up with our wireless network for Hulu watching and other streaming. It will be great.

I'm not a techy guy. I don't have emotional connections to that many objects, even. But this computer has been my workshop, my toolset, my connection to clients, my library, my theater and my playground for four years. That is a long time. I thought it fitting that the last project I complete on it be a send off.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Just Cause 2

Rock-stupid game. Beautiful World. Accidentally great.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

It's even more fanart that I don't do.

More Demon's Souls.

It's more fanart that I don't do.

Demon's Souls

It's a secret to everyone


I never do fanart but whatever. After a couple months of straight animation, I definitely needed a big 'ol drawing break. Maybe I'll do more. I was always a big fan of the wooden sword.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

working


As a bit of a breather before launching full-tilt into the next Tadly episode, I'm doing a piece unlike any I've ever done before. In some ways it's the most personal piece of art I've ever created. For a small portion of the population who find the subject matter interesting, though, it might be very awesome. We'll see.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tadly Episode 00 post-mortem.

So.



We came up with Tadly and Abigail while driving through the snow back from Chicago last december. We wanted to work on something together in a way that worked with both of our strengths. So I make the cartoons and art, Bethany makes the plush.

This is the first sketch of Tadly from earlier this year.

The lovely wife and her lovely interpretation.

We worked pretty much hand in hand on the designs, making sure they worked as plush before going and further with them. As we worked over the months, Tadly's character came more into focus, his backstory and world became larger and deeper, and we became very excited. The central conceit of this character- that he is a shape-shifting explorer- opens up such a wealth of visual opportunities and interesting storylines that it just seemed like we had stumbled on to something great. Time will tell, I suppose.

But anyway, I want to start doing these little post-mortems on my animated pieces, just to reflect on the process, what I liked, what I didn't, etc. I figure that some animator types might enjoy reading it. Time will tell on that too, I suppose.

ANYWAY.

The Project : An origin story of sorts for Tadly Waldorfington, laying out the general vibe of his world, his character, his motivations, his past, his powers and his current situation. Originally the piece was going to be a half live-action bit where Tadly shows up at our apartment and demands that his story be told. The first few months of the year that was my plan. But after talking through the character's background and our ideas for him, I wanted to have something that really placed people right into his world and threw them right into his exciting life. I also wanted to immediately find the emotional center of this particular story, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of Tadly's. There is actually a much larger supporting cast planned, but we simply didn't have time to fit them in to this one. In particular, Tadly's family will be playing a much larger part in his greater story and motivations.

The secret!

As far as the aesthetic, I wanted to do something much more intentionally design-y than my past work. I can hear the greater animation community groaning, but it seems very liberating to try to do something where the rules of representation are at times secondary to the design. That didn't really come out in this particular episode, but we'll get to that later. I also wanted to make the actual animation style fluid, so in the future we can do everything from tweeny AE or Flash animation to traditional to stop-motion or whatever we like. The main story will probably always be the AE animation I've been working with over the past few years with interstitials in whatever style seems fun, like the Fox and Goat intro.

What Worked - I'll just point out a couple of moments I thought really worked well.

This moment of nonchalance.

This moment of wistfulness.

This foray into semi-abstraction. I LOVED THIS PART.

I was also a big fan of the whole snake story.

Also, who doesn't love Gershwin?

What Didn't Work - I'm notoriously vicious on my own work, so I'm going to try to keep this as light as possible. The aesthetic of the series is still un-cemented in this episode, which bothers me to no end. I know that this is normal. I don't know of any series that, in it's first episode, really represents the beast it will grow in to. I do think that this episode lays out the basic feel and look for the whole work, but I didn't find the balance yet between vector-y smoothness and hand drawn textury stuff. This led to moments like the haunted lake clip where the texture on the skull clashes with the character and background. I think the look gelled well in the teaser bit at the end, which is an even mix between art created in photoshop and after effects. I'm sure that will be much more apparent in the next episode. Also, I'm an amateur sound guy at best.

Final Verdict - Well, we succeeded in launching a new character with a 5.5 minute cartoon with no money. That's not bad. We'll be working with Tadly and continuing the series and hopefully developing a nice little following for the little guy. We'll see. In the end, despite the mixed feelings that inevitably come from being so close to such a large project, I'm immensely proud of Episode 00. We set a deadline and hit it, with only minutes to spare. Look forward to much, much more from this.