03 December 2017

Dramatic readings: To be or Not to be

I have finished a new animation project with the always helpful voice work of Mike Luce. Basically, it's a filmed theatre piece of a great (platypus) thespian (over)acting Hamlet's most famous speech in front of an adoring audience. 

The purpose of doing this (other than getting it out of my head like all my other projects) was to expand my possibilities with cartoon-like characters. Making them and rigging them has always been difficult for me but I seem to have broken through a wall and made it to another place this time out. 

I normally rig my characters using Cactus Dan's tools for C4D, but sadly, he has passed and I realized if I ever upgraded C4D above version 16, I will lose access to those tools and needed to try the character object autorig. Very luckily, Everfresh (from the C4D cafe) has made a cartoon rig template for the character object and provided it for free and it is a glorious thing. His tutorials on how to use it also clearly explained some things about the auto rigging that had prevented me form using it before so I expect for now on, I'll be going that route. My cousin Sheila helped a bit by reviewing the look of  Charles and critiquing some early animations, especially his theatrical strut. 

Mike Luce was an amazing help getting this done and always encouraging. In fact he has already voiced a second one of these to be done... soon-ish. 

I hope people like this, it takes a lot out me mentally and even physically to incarnate this sort of character and bring it to life. To Be or Not to Be in sort of proof of concept project - meaning I made it more difficult than it needed to be to see if I could pull it off. 

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.