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!

12 October 2017

New Science animation - Back Pain

The latest science video fro Body of Evidence and Dr. Christopher Labos. They seem to have gone from simple cut out animations to al out fully 3D character animations somehow. Teddy is the Doctor's sidekick of sorts for the podcast and now he has presence in the short films!

14th Another Hole in the Head film festival

The 14th Another Hole in the Head film festival will be held in San Fransisco October 25th - November 8. My two recent films, Staley Fleming's Hallucination and The Oval Portrait will be shown, but so far no times have been published. If you are in the San Fran area... please go and gush over my work and make sure everyone sees you!

Dates and places for the shows!  Click to see where and when.

Staley Fleming's Hallucination

The Oval Portrait

Watch this post for updates!

03 October 2017

Teddy - new 3D cartoon character

Teddy will be added to the science series I occasionally animate for Doctor Christopher Labos at "The Body of Evidence" podcast. He will join the doctor character and a slew of others I've made but haven't put in projects yet. The shorts are only about 1 ½ - 2 minutes long but have quite a bit of movement in them. While Teddy is a bit different from the rest, being a toy bear and fuzzy we are hoping he will fit right in and become the doctor's main companion in the coming animations. The series started out using limited 2D animations of illustrations but we never seemed able to get artists to stay long enough to get more than one short done with them... if even that! So last time out I decided to use my 3d skills, and make a cast of characters I could reuse and animate in a limited but consistent way.

Technically speaking, he is better modelled than most of my earlier efforts at cartoon characters and done from scratch. This images him is his neutral pose as he isn't rigged for movement yet. My next personal film with Mike Luce involves a very cartoon-y character so I am hoping this is a sign that it will go even better as it will be much, much more complicated to pull off.

ready to start animating!

30 September 2017

What am I waiting to be released?

Affinity products have a lot on the horizon, some things are closer than others for release. Updates to Photo and Designer could come out at any time as the beta versions have been through a few iterations already. As the year come closer to an end though, I am very anxious to see some sign of their new Digital Asset Manager and I am really hoping for the promised reveal of their Publisher program that could finally be competition for Indesign. Affinity does not hide its development which has 2 results on it's users... 1) you feel in the loop and can plan for what is coming and 2) the ultimate frustrations of waiting for the crushing amount of time it takes to get a program right before release. They are pretty good at squashing bugs and releasing very usable apps so it's worth the agony of waiting, it's just not easy! hey are not promising a ton of new features in the next update but what they are promising I am looking forward to using - such as the drawing tool and font menu improvements.

The Room 4 will be released this fall... sometime. I really love the earlier games and so far each one has been different and challenging in different ways from those before it. I re-played all three previous games this summer and still loved them all.

MAC OS High Sierra has been released - sort of. It was released with no support for fusion drives and apparently has some issues with Indesign, which I still use so I won't be updating until I am sure those issues and some Metal 2 bugs I've heard about are handled.

X-Particles 4 : the Cinema 4D plugin has become an essential part of my work and this new update looks amazing. When they introduced fire and smoke a while back, the effects were underwhelming. This new release integrates a new fire/smoke simulation system from a company they bought out and it might decrease or end my dependence on Turbulence FD for this effects. Right now I have to use X-particles and Turbulence together to get decent results.  I would prefer it all in one package and it looks like I'm getting just that!

Pixelmator Pro has been announced for this fall, again... sometime. While I won't use it for photos, the little I saw of it's new drawing and painting tools might lure me away from Sketch, which Autodesk has put into the hell that is the Adobe pay us every month subscription "service". So my version will eventually stop working and I won't subscribe so I will need a replacement for my preferred drawing app. If Affinity Photo was more advanced intros area I would be happy to stay there, but I don't think drawing is priority in their future plans.

The long goodbyes:
I might be deleting a few programs as well. Flash is already gone and when I update to High Sierra eventually, Final Cut Studio will go as mentioned las post. There are a few others that I might just give up on. Dreamweaver I haven't touched in 2 years, Hype 3, and great app for html 5 animations I haven't used since I started with Sparkle web design. I still have 21 Adobe products sitting on my disk I almost never touch... some I've never used even once. Titanium Toast, DVD creator, Disk Cover... will I really use these once essential programs again? I like to keep my system free of apps that just sit there, taking up space.

12 September 2017

Final goodbye to Final Cut Studio and Flash

Not a surprise to anyone, but Adobe is pulling the plug on Flash, the animation turned practically independent OS application originally developed by Macromedia. I have along history with Flash, and loved using it under Macromedia. When Adobe bought Macromedia, it was almost exclusively for obtaining Flash which it saw as the future standard of the internet and aggressively pushed it way beyond it's limits and original functions into a space no one asked for. They also pretty much abandoned all the other great Macromedia products, including Dreamweaver which had become the best WYSIWYG html editor around.

At first, mostly because of the advantages for flash video, the newer version caught on but quickly the hack-ability and lack of stability became apparent to anyone opening a Flash file. Steve Jobs notoriously banned the format from Apple's mobile devices and the long, slow death knell began to sound. HTML 5 and other new internet advances soon took over most of the functions only Flash could offer and to be frank, I haven't opened the program in about 5 years.

Sadder for me is the knowledge that the next Mac OS update will kill Final Cut Studio for once for all. I actually used it just last week to export a video in a format for Amazon Video Direct that Final Cut X can not do... for reasons I'll never understand and Amazon refuses to explain. The Final Cut debacle is well known and hate for the Final Cut Studio replacement isn't unfounded, or wasn't unfounded at the time. The application has changed a lot, bringing back old functionality and new better workflow over a slow development period but without demanding an upgrade fee in all that time. I still use some of the suite as well. While programs like the DVD creator and Colour have been obsolete for a long time now, Sound track Pro still has been very useful to me time to time. I have the new Motion X and it's a slight improvement over the studio version (why won't Apple give that software some real love?) but I haven't bought the new Compressor which exports to different formats... and I might have now that the old Final Cut will be no more. Adobe's premier Pro has become what Final Cut likely would have been in some respects but it's also stuck in older ideas about editing and part of the heinous Adobe Creative Cloud ripoff, so I won't be using that and keeping Final Cut X at the top of my video editing list for now.