29 December 2015

How important is it to be seen?

A little philosophical at the end of the year I guess, but how important is it as an artist to be seen or more to the point for his or her work to be seen by others? 

In some forms of art, it’s the reason for doing it in the first place. I don’t really care if anyone knows it was me that made a documentary but I do hope people will find it and see it since the reason for it’s existence was to attract attention to a subject I thought was being neglected. If no one sees it, no matter how good it is artistically or how well it transmits the information it’s supposed to relay, it has failed. But if even one person sees it and it says something to them, it has succeeded... in my eyes, anyway. When it comes to my photography and drawing, it’s nice to think people see and like it but I will keep doing it even if I am the only one (and I often am) who looks at it even once after it’s done. 

How important is it for me, the maker of the thing to be seen? I’d like to say not important at all, but in the real world, you have be noticed in order to do more of what you want to do effectively in many cases. Celebrity shouldn’t matter, but we all know it does. I much prefer that my work speak for itself. 

If one is trying make a living at something, being noticed takes on a whole new dimension. My personal projects might not make a huge splash but they are like a calling card to people who might hire me for their projects. Getting hired in turn lets me continue with my own work. Ideally, my work would get enough notice that it generates money that lets me do my own thing without having to be hired by anyone else. In this scenario being seen is in service to my work not an end unto itself. If I were independently wealthy, I’d get a lot more of my personal projects done than I do because I get work from doing them. 

Except for this blog, I don’t do social media. Frankly, I don’t like that sort of attention.  If you are lucky it can get you noticed, especially recently where news shows look at likes, tweets and followers more than the substance of the story itself. The big problem is social media isn’t interested in promoting art, it promotes outrage and scandal and a lot of terrible ideas over good ones. Being seen on social media doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It doesn’t even mean those that clicked on your link looked at what they clicked on. I can be used as a way to show that your work is getting some sort of attention… sort of a bargaining chip in a job interview. Getting seen is harder than most realize. 300 hours of video is uploaded to You Tube every minute and the chance is close to zero that any of them will get seen by more than a few people. Social media is a lottery more than it is a real plan to get noticed.

While being seen is important, who looks is much more important than how many. Being seen by one person who can progress what you want to do to is much more important than a 1000 «  likes »  from people who have no real interest in your work. On a personal level, those looks and likes can be motivating, especially if you get positive feedback from others you admire or who do something similar to what you are doing. 

For me, if my work is seen by me and I don’t hate it and want to keep going and doing more, I’m happy enough. If it gets seen by someone who can do something that lets me do more of what I want to do, even better. In the end being seen doesn’t change what I actually do in the end. That comes from inside me. 

16 November 2015

Antidote 9 review

Druid software has released a new version of Antidote, their already great text correction software with the one feature I thought it was lacking. Since I write in French and English over the course of any given day, I have been using Antidote for most of my correction needs. It not only fixes misspellings but tense disagreements and gives you synonyms, examples of usage and a million other things in French.  The new version does all that but now has added and English module that does all for English now too! Plus it does both languages in the same email/document so if I need to write sing both languages, they can both get corrections.

This is not a translation program, it is a writing aid, helping you t not just fix mistakes but help in the writing process. It also doesn't auto-correct which I think we can all agree is worse than Hitler. I am fairly dyslexic so I don't see the substituted words as the wrong once often and then I have to explain and re-write and re-send the message filled with statements more nonsensical than my dyslexia could ever come up with. This opens a sport window and lets you decide not only if the correction actually is one but explains why it chose to flag what you wrote.

So I had been waiting for an English version of Antidote for years and finally, it's not only here but rolled into the software I use all time !The only issue is it won't update my Safari browser plugging my iMac right now and the best thing aside from the English addition is I was finally able to install it also on my laptop despite the version on it was not the same serial number as the iMac version. For a while I had to buy a separate licence to get it on both which is expensive and annoying but that is thankfully in the past.

26 October 2015

Movie magic - the story of special effects in the cinema

John Brosnan 1974

This is less a review of a book and more a remembrance of my youth. I recently had an overpowering desire to read this book again. My original was lost in a flood eons ago and I thought I had forgotten about it...but I found myself frantically searching Amazon and buying the hard cover without a second thought.

I have absolutely no regrets. It is rare when something so influential from your youth not only holds up, but surpasses your expectations coloured by decades of fond memories. In many ways this book cemented my desire to work in visual effects for movies. I, like many kids was fascinated by monsters and spaceships, but unlike many kids I wanted to know how they were made and do it myself. This book is still inspiring despite or possibly because of the now out of date descriptions of how special effects were done back in the days before Star Wars and digital techniques changed forever how films were made.

Written well before the digital age, the histories and interviews seem much more authentic than something written today. After all, the people who invented film magic were still around to talk about the early days of the art and scale models, puppets and hand done matte paintings were still state of the art when this was published. Brosnan does more than just explain techniques but gives the context and personal stories around how all the classic and not so classic miracles of the silver screen came to be.

Reading this book has inspired and encouraged me all over again to keep pushing my craft and reminding me that while some things may be easier, sometimes the old ways were best or at the  very least, retain their charm and power to this day in a way modern effects are somewhat less able to accomplish.

Erich Zann with narration

So this is the final version. Thanks to Mike Luce who took the time and effort to narrate the film which allowed me to replace the titles cards which were not exactly loved by everyone.

Music of Erich Zann (final) from Vincent-louis Apruzzese on Vimeo.

15 October 2015

Trapeze artists drawing

I am still not 100% happy drawing in photoshop for my black and white illustrations. I bought Kyle's brush set and that has helped a lot but the water colour like backgroundsI easily get in Sketchbook is still somewhat out of reach. It's nice but not exactly what I am looking for so I'll need to do a lot more experimenting. Of course the best scenario would be a person of sketchbook available from the App Store without rapid you every month for cash like Adobe and a few others are doing. There was just an update to pixelate and Affinity photo is getting close so maybe I won't need either one day.

14 October 2015

Health Information videos with Christopher Labos

I was asked to help out with some health videos for Moutons No More and Doctor Christopher labor at McGill University. The illustrations of people are for the most from the graphics department at McGill and the less than stellar ones are by me but we might be getting more help in that regard soon. I combined 3D and 2D motion graphics to try and get a fast moving animation based on the narration.
One thing I am not is a cartoonist, no matter how hard I try!

05 October 2015

animation: " Music of Erich Zann"

Finally done after 5 years. This was a challenging personal project as I am not great at modelling characters like humans etc. I kept trying and changing and adapting from pre-made characters but finally got to the point where it was accept what I have now or NEVER do it. I changed the street a hundred times as well choosing to go with a more based on the story description version than what I had in my head and I think it was  a good choice. The sets are much more complicated and realized than in previous solo projects and this time I am really telling a complicated story and trying to get more subtle emotions into the characters. Plus little horror I hope.

The street set from above:

The final street:

Early Zann concept:

Early street concept:

24 September 2015

Reindeer - Berlin Zoo

I needed a small break from animating while I created the creature for the film and to just get my mind into a different space before it got stale. I have a bout 20 drawing projects I haven't had time to get to, so here is one down, 19 to go. I didn't get everything out of this drawing I wanted to. The fur was very patchy and it looks far too smooth and clean. I do like the expression though. Sketchbook pro 6 started to crash at the end, hopefully that's not a regular thing as I still haven't found a decent alternative yet and I have no desire to pay a monthly fee for any software.

01 September 2015

Starting to come together

Almost done rigging the second character. Still working on facial expressions and some secondary movement rigging. I want Zann, the musician's tailcoats to move dynamically as he moves for example. I am hoping to get a couple shots actually animated with the younger man before this Friday when I am riding my bike to Vermont and won't be able to touch this for a few days.

Right now there is no lighting on them, so I am hoping they look good in set and with the right moody lighting. There is a still monster to create and rig but it's not in the film very much so getting the scenes with these guys is priority one as I work out the monster stuff in my head.

27 August 2015

BenQ monitor

Less than a week ago my Apple 24 inch Cinema display lost it’s picture, just the picture. The USB ports, sound and camera still worked fine but those things without a image don’t make a good monitor! As this was my secondary monitor I didn’t feel the need to get the 1200$ new version which, while really nice is way out of my price range.

Luckily there are a ton of lower end, well priced alternatives. After looking around I found the BenQ, with decent reviews and well under 300$. 

Cheap. 27 inches. lightweight. LED display.

Weird interface to set it up. Didn’t recognize the HDMI port automatically. Image is acceptable but compared to even the old 6 year old 24 inch Apple display, it’s noticeably of poorer quality. No camera, ports. Text does not look great on it.


For a second monitor its fine and well priced. Image is good enough for most things but not really for colour work on photos or video. 

17 August 2015

Musique de Erich Zann - prise 10?

Maybe the tenth try to get this further along. It is in fact further along this time, however. I will have to re-dress the interiors little but not much and I redid the street completely. The stumbling point has always been the two main characters and while I am not 100% happy with the look, they will have to do. I even rigged the main guy completely and did a short test. problem was the rigging system in C4D while a lot easier than ever -  was causing some joint lock and was little hard to find all the controls on. Sad since the automatic walk cycle may have saved me tons of time on some scenes. Recently I was finally able to wake up enough to get my tried and true Cactus Dan tools updated for V16 C4d and did a ton of rig updating on older puppets to get back into the feel of it. SO I've decided once again to re-rig the main guy and see how it goes. In the meantime, the test promo for what I have is eventually a finished animated short. and Shot of the new-er main guy puppet.

21 July 2015

New acrobat drawing

I took a well needed pause in my editing of the Million year Picnic documentary while i was waiting for feedback from the rough cut and did a new drawing. I didn't get as many reference photos as I would have liked during the MTL Complement Cirque festival but enough to keep me bust a few months and add more to my growing acrobat project I have been working on the past few years. I think working on the documentary is pushing me towards a more simplified black and white style. Simplified for me anyway.

19 June 2015

Million Year Picnic Documentary Progress

After a fun weekend with an old friend (Mike Luce) and 14 year employee of the MYP, we were able to film a long interview with him and he interviewed me since the first one was not working so well. This means I am finally able to start editing it into a real film.

Using Final Cut X  has a learning curve, despite what some people say about it being so much easier than other non linear editors. Getting all the video in is very fast and painless but getting it organized for editing is not any easier or faster than doing it in Final Cut 7, just different and more flexible. 

Even though I have done a short 3 minute documentary last year, working in full HD is still new to me and the ability to enhance and fix things has greatly advanced since I did my film about the 1270 disco tech a few years back. Mike and I were looking at the video together and sound is a huge problem on this project. Earlier interviews had to be done in the store which was a recording nightmare. I found a plugin that would take out the echo and really enhance the sound, but it was 400$.. so out of the budget which is now zero dollars since I’l already in debt for the film. we did try out Soundtrack pro for some of the real obvious issues, which a software that came with the old Final Cut pro and while not as easy to use as the in app features in FCPX, it does a lot more, a lot more competently and even the worst sound was rendered somewhat usable. 

the video can really be pushed, despite bad lighting conditions

Mike also helped me with some drawing advice for another project and was really kind and just gave me a couple of his original drawings , one of which was up on the wall minutes after the left for home. 

Oh and now the doc is called « the picnic » apparently. 

07 June 2015

What Makes a Good Tutorial?

Tutorials online have become an amazing resource to learn just about anything you want to learn. From installing a fence to learning new features in a complicated software package to making your own clothes, you can find it all online and usually for free. But what is it that makes a good tutorial, good? 

Here is a small list of general things I look for in a tutorial

Concise and to the point descriptions about the subject. Far too many people making tutorials spend up to ⅓ the length of the video just rambling about things not connected to the subject and takes away from what they are trying teach at  the moment. Get right into what your video is about and don’t muck around telling people how to turn the computer on, open the software… basically avoid the things anyone who wants to watch your lesson should already know. 

Uses editing of sound and video.  There is a tendency to think when making a tutorial that you have dot do it all in one go. I can be much better to film doing the thing apart from the narration which gives you the ability to take out the « umm and ahhs » present in normal speech and to refine what you are saying to be as clear as possible. You can also edit the  filming of the activity so it includes just the basic steps, not every second it takes to complete the task. Some people are using video to show of a creative process which would include how you fix mistakes and come up on the fly, but that’s a small percentage of what’s out there in my experience. 

The teacher speaks clearly and strikes a good balance between being a robot and a comedian. We all like to here a likeable voice and some witty remarks but when you are trying to learn something complicated, too many jokes and asides can make it impossible while a droning, colourless voice will just put you to sleep. If you have a strong accent, be sure it’s not so strong that no one can understand  what you are trying to say. 

Tells how to do something, not what to do exactly. I am sure there are plenty of exceptions to this but if you are going to show how to draw something that will look exactly like what you drew with no way to apply that knowledge into anything else, it’s sort of a waste. I find the best videos show me how not just to do something but how to use techniques I can use elsewhere and encourages me to find different uses for them on my own. 

Doesn’t play loud music in the background! This might be just a pet peeve on mine, but I don’t think so. Music drowning out the speaker’s voice can be very distracting, not to mention copyright infringing. So shut off the tunes while you are recording your narration! 

I am sure there is plenty else to talk about but these are the items I seem to look for the most when seeking help with something in the form of online tutorials. Really good lessons, especially for something you really need to know well for work are worth paying for and it’s just mean to be hyper critical to someone who is trying to give out information for free. So be kind in your comments to people trying to help you out and be constructive not cruel if you feel the need to critique what they’ve put online. 

25 May 2015

Secure or Paranoid or Marketing Ploy?

Recently I have been driven up tree by all the security hoops I have to jump through to do almost anything online. Things that  were just easy and never thought of, like checking email my from my mail app on my main computer can now take a ton of time out of my day as I have to re-enter passwords, reconnect to accounts or verify that the thing I want to do IS the thing I want to do. 

Google mMail might be the worst in terms of over protecting me from reading my mail while still letting all that SPAM into my account. I often have to re-type the passwords into my mail app and get messages far too often stating someone has been trying to use my account that it has been frozen and needs a new password. Now this sounds like one of those SPAM emails but it’s real. The problem is, the person trying to get access to my account is always ME from the computer I always use. 

Another issue is the ridiculously long passwords and serials numbers I have to enter not only to start up some software, but to access tutorials or forums related to them. Serial numbers and registrations do not help the end user really in any way shape or form in the era of safety. They are used to prevent piracy from the company who owns the software. eEven it it worked most of the time, its not like those companies would ever lower their prices because piracy was down. Apple has a system in place that won’t let you open a downloaded program without approving it, which isn’t a bad idea, but it’s an all or nothing sort of affair. I can approve everything or nothing except what I get from the apple App store. So I have to jump through hoops to approve the software I have whenever there are updates. 

Web sites are also going safety crazy. Often they won’t remember your sign-in info even when you tell them too. As someone with dyslexia, having to re-enter long series of numbers every time I check my bank balance for example is impossible and frustrating.

The thing is, I am not even remotely convinced all these security strategies help me stay safe at all. Man of then seem to do the thing I am wanting to project myself from. They seem like transparent attempts to get information from me to use and sell. As an example, almost everything wants me to give my cell phone number for verification, not just a phone number, my cell number so they can send text messages, etc. They all threaten not doing so might mean an end to the service ( gmail and yahoo imply or outright say this). I don’t actually have a cell phone, should I have to buy one just to read emails? Same goes for the sites that require you can get access only with an email from them. So you end up with google, yahoo, etc etc. I really don’t want a million emails and still have a ton despite spending a couple days every year trying to reduce them. It’s all about marketing, not safety in the end. 

To be sure, we need security in place to access the digital world, there are too many ways hackers and crooks can get into our systems, but I am not sure what passes for security now, on the end user level at least, is really protecting us, but could be simply a way to get our information « legally ». 

03 May 2015

new drawing

more acrobats in pen and ink style. A couple weeks to draw and set up. I am hoping to get a to more references this July when Montreal Complement Cirque is happening again. It is my only chance to get what I need since its free, nearby and I don't exactly have the clout to just walk into a cirque school and ask to take reference photos for my work.

15 April 2015

Final Cut Pro 10,2

After a long wait, Apple has released an updated version of not only Final Cut, but Compressor and Motion. Final Cut being the centre point the others are attached to, it makes sense to mostly talk about how it's changed.

Not much really.

To be fair, they did handle some issues and it is much faster. The interface is easier to navigate and the long standing requests to have multiple scope displays for colour correcting have been answered. It also has some interesting new features like drawing masks, automatic smart collections created when you start a project and the big one... 3D titles.

The new 3d titles is an interesting, well thought out feature no one asked for and frankly isn't going to interest professionals in film production. I can see it being more helpful to what is now FCPs apparent new core base, makers of industry films, seminar videos and the like. Apple is making a huge deal of this feature which is even better implemented in Motion where it belongs more than in a non linear editing program.

Unfortunately, this leaves the functions editors have been begging for still left undone. There is no separate audio track so you can time a project to music, like for a music video as an example ( there are work arounds, but in my opinion a workaround solution just says Apple has fail to provide a real solution to an everyday need for many editors). The timeline doesn't slide with the playhead as it does even in iMovie yet and there is not send to Motion command to add affects to a clip you are working on which should have been in the software day one. Despite many proponents taking every little incremental step forward as a sure sign Apple has not abandoned professional film makers, this new update does nothing to support those claims.

Motion has also been updated and the new 3D titles fit in better with it's set of tools but more importantly, Apple seems to have.. at least on my system, been finally.. finally.. able to get much better real time playback and the software opens right away now. Those two little things have kept me form using Motion over After Effects since I first bought Motion as a stand alone product years ago.

Compressor I don't use, or I haven't used since the Final Cut 7 version so I can't really say much about it except the last few versions have not been all that well received. The ability to export directly to iTunes to sell your video does seems like a great feature once you've jumped through all the hurdles of getting approved and the rights to sell your stuff in the iTunes store.

09 April 2015

X Particles 3 for Cinema 4D

What is it?
It’s a particle generator that goes far beyond the native systems in C4d allowing more control, more options and (with version 3) liquid, smoke and fire effects.

How good is it?
In brief, very good. Fairly easy to use and learn for something that has an infinite number of variations and options. While is clearly states it’s liquids and smoke effects are not cinema quality, they certainly can be used for cinematic projects. Rendering of the particles is very fast in the viewport and many things can be altered on the fly saving time and allowing you to play around before committing to anything. This plugin has great flocking controls and allows particles to collide with other particles, spawn new particles on collision… pretty much anything you would need to do… it does. Mograph and other native Cinema 4 functions and modifiers will work seamlessly with it as well which really gives it more power even professional users will ever need.

What are the limitation?
Like most particle simulators, looking at the particles in the viewport isn’t a problem… rendering them out is. Version 3 was released with a lot of very simple helpful tutorials for registered users but they were lacking in some very basic areas… in my opinion. The biggest issue for me is the smoke and fire rendering. For some reason, if you set up their automatic system heir achy, the gaseous shader they provide won't always render. More to the point - getting a decent looking and fast render is really difficult to accomplish. There needs to be a fire, smoke preset of something that gets you up and running quickly and I would prefer some feature that automatically helps sets up render settings, maybe a low-medium-high systems like Maxon’s physical render engine has for motion blur to help you simplify the stupefying amount of factors you need to navigate to get a final result that looks good but renders quickly enough to actually be useful in project. The gaseous shader is a brand new feature, so I expect it will be greatly improved on as X particles is not noted for sitting on hands for very long when it comes to improving the product. 

In summary

is it worth it? Yes it is despite any problems it may have at present. It is light years above the horrible pyrocluster feature in C4D which even deleted the one feature that made it usable (the ability to post render which was very fast) and it has so many useful features from simple to complex that the normal emitter is pretty much useless.

x particles tests from Vincent-louis Apruzzese on Vimeo.

09 March 2015

Nitro 4D plugins for Cinema 4D

It’s only fair I think to point of those who go far above what is expected of them and give the rest of us advantages we wouldn’t have otherwise. One example would be people who writ plugins, most of the time for free or ask only a donation that vastly improve a software we work on all the time. One of these people is Lazaros at Nitro 4D. I have bought (donated to) 2 of his excellent plugins recently but I also have quite a  few of his many freebies, some of which save me so much time and effort, it’s amazing that Maxon hasn’t integrated them into C4D years ago.

A quick effects test I did. Sorry for the distortion, the quicktime X software does a terrible job formatting and I didn't have time to run it through Final Cut X

nitroblast_test from Vincent-louis Apruzzese on Vimeo.

The paid for plugins I have are Nitroblast which is basically a way to explode and break apart objects in various ways, but also goes beyond that into helping out with making 3D motion graphics and transformations as well. The video (not mine) will give an idea what can be done.

The second paid plugin is Nitropose, which lets you save poses of characters of objects and insert them into an animation easily and quickly. While C4D has motion clips, this goes into a different area motion clips don’t cover as it saves animation as clips but not really separate poses. This plugin lets you save any pose you like in a handy windy to drag into a timeline as you like in any order you need. While it doesn’t help me in my current projects, I can see for game animations and repetitive movements for multiple characters and use them, say, over the course of a TV show. 

As for the freebies… here is a list of the ones I have currently:
Thrausi (breaks objects to pieces)
magic tree
magic snow
magic wedge tool
magic puzzle
magic replace
magic mesh
magic merge
magic tools
magic wireframe
magic slow motion
magic eye (and eye lid)
magic car
magic book

 There are many, many more and even the ones I have I haven’t explore completely. Most take something that would take awhile to set up manually and make it a click of a few buttons… saving hours of time.

04 March 2015

acrobat - saute 01

I felt I was getting very stale doing the colour work, especially on the acrobat series and thought i should go back to what I really love, pen and ink (style - it's done digitally). I made it slightly more graphic by adding the circle in the back. I always wanted to make his body stand out with some grayscale painting or something behind him but decided something precise might work better.  I also wanted to balance the really dark lower half with the really light upper half.

Oddly, I think pen and ink has a lighter feel over grey scale colour drawing. I think because I am obsessed with doing skin tones in points of different sizes which to me, more or less adds a film grain look to the illustrations.

20 February 2015

Affinity Photo Beta

I have been testing Affinity photo, which is being marketed as a viable alternative for Adobe Photoshop by Affinity, a Windows software company looking to enter the Mac marketplace with a suite of products on theApp Store. Affinity Designer is already released (to great reviews) as an Illustrator alternative. Mike Luce (a great artist IMO) has been trying it out and seems to like it but it lacks at least two features he can’t live without, mainly masks and bitmap vectorization.

With this in mind I started getting into the Affinity Photo beta, and fully expected something well done, but missing a few things I really need to do my work. Since it’s a beta, I also expected bugs, crashes and disabled functionality… all of which its most certainly has. The big surprise has been how well thought out what they have decided to include as features. I use Photoshop for a few different kinds of projects. Retouching and restoration is all I do for months sometimes and this software doesn’t seem to be lacking really any of the tools I want. Not all of them are implemented fully yet but they are there or on the way. The interface, while familiar will take some getting used, like all new software Professional photography is also something I am known to do and the RAW processor is much better than Photoshop’s in my opinion already and it looks like many of the plugins I use will be or are already supported. Some of the features are combinations of several separate features in Photoshop, the puppet tool is rolled into the mech distortion tools for example and I have to say… well done. I also draw on the computer, but not in always Photoshop because it’s brush situation is not up to what I need. Sketchbook Pro, which also recently went subscription (won’t be updating that one now either) has much more realistic pen and ink brushes in particular. Affinity Photo is lacking in this respect as well but they have told me they are working on it which is encouraging. 

Now there are and have been many « Photoshop killer » apps out there but none seem to make a dent in Adobe’s dominance. wWhy would tis one be any different? Well, for one thing, the timing is right. Face it, Adobe pissed off a lot of users, me included, with their subscription only scheme. Their mac support, in my experience, has declined to insulting over the years. T but the biggest thing might be something they often tout as a selling. The size and scope of the software is ginormous, it has gone far beyond image processing and manipulation and into video, 3d, animation… you name it. It’s a mess of things many people would rather see in separate software, done better. It’s slow to open and hasn’t been re-written in a very, very long time. Affinity has the advantage of being written for 64 bit, the latest OS and being very snappy and modern, ( a nice sprite was my fonts opened immediately - something photoshop takes and eternity to do) it seems to include all the key important features and leaves out the obscure legacy and unwanted crap that has snuck into Photoshop over the years. 

It’s likely to be 50$ with a a couple years of free updates included, no subscription and cloud nonsense and is going to be able to be used in unison with not only the released Designer app, but an upcoming Indesign alternative that I am really interested in seeing. If they do a web design and aAfter eEffects alternative I can dump everything from Adobe… providing they come through on the promise shown in these early efforts. Would I dump them?… yes I think I would.

11 February 2015

dessin - acrobat - toile

another acrobat done. I changed my technique slightly. normally i add some noise/grain to the image it soften the sometimes harsh photoshop look to the drawings but i think I made be better at drawing digitally and avoiding that problem.Hair seems a little better and I had a very hard time with the rear foot for some reason. I did notice the background gradient is little weird from the reformatting to jpg. In the PSD file is really smooth.

08 February 2015

03 February 2015

Nostalgia and effects tests in one

I loved Flash Gordon.. the original serials as a kid which were shown at a local movie house... usually before a Godzilla movie. (To be more precise, I loved Buster Crabbe.)

At one point I used the spaceship design from the serials in the behemoth video logo and also made an entire site with the ship landing on Mongo as my portfolio webpage, all in Flash, which seemed extra appropriate. As you can see, it was really primitive looking and was animated with a software called Swift 3D. it just spun on it's axis as everything did in the early days off Flash.

Now many years later, I decided to update the ship in Cinema 4D and use it as a test object for effects experiments. Video was taken at my friend's farm in Vermont and not well done I am sorry to say. I guess I was cold or just not paying enough attention.

Overall I am really happy with the new design. Turns out there were a few styles of ship used in the serials so I combined elements from all of them. Integrating it into real footage has it's challenges. It's very smooth, toylike and shiny. I didn't want to change that too much and make it look Steam punk or Jules Verne-ish but keep some of the art-deco aspects to it. I might make at least a drawing or two now from the serials or at least a poster and I can use this as a reference to draw from. Any excuse to look at photos of Buster I guess!

The video below is 3 separate tests. The last clip is actually the first test and I think it shows. The flyover was simple and effective (in my mind) and the pulling up to the barn clip is the most complex to pull off and I didn't exactly nail it. I need more practice and experimenting to get the total look of it being really there right. I like that I gave it a hard time making it's way through the snow. The snow was done with a plugin called magic snow which is great but not entirely real looking. They all have a sort of a "matte painting" look I would like to reduce in future.

Overall I achieved a Space Channel movie of the week quality which I suppose isn't terrible since it's only me figuring this stuff out on my own.

spaceshuip tests from Vincent-louis Apruzzese on Vimeo.

28 January 2015


illustration - trying to get away from using more than is available in real pen and ink drawing even tough I am often on the computer. I think it's to easy to go too far with layers and shading and effects and too easy to hide failings in my drawing technique by fancy brush shading.

So this was done with just black pen strokes and I have to say is more satisfying to me than some of my other stuff since I started drawing on the computer. In life I always look for shades of grey but in drawing... I think I'm mostly a it's black or white guy. Still trying to figure out why I am happy with the fur I draw and so very unhappy when I draw hair on people. I am also settling in to the fact I have two very different styles when it comes to drawings like this and my colour series of acrobats as an example. I go the greyscale to colour route with colour drawings and use much less detailed pen work.

Thing is, when I post something like this... which for the moment I am pretty proud of, no one seems to care or even like it so much while a shirtless acrobat gets 100s of views on Flickr and I am not so happy with the end result. Nipples always win the internet I guess. Well this guy has 6 of them.. I think... didn't look... seemed wrong.   :)

18 January 2015

C'est Wow / Look Kool demo reel

I was hired to do character animation, effects integration and 3D graphics for a French/English Tv show for children by Apartment11 Productions over the course of 4 months. that was a  short time to do 16 episodes for each language... so 32 in 16 weeks! Despite the challenge, it worked out pretty well, mostly due to the team there and hard work everyone put into it. This reel is just my work, no the final product which went through additional After Effects, sound and colour correction in many cases. While I was able to do the more complex work at my home studio, the production company did not have the full version of Cinema 4D so my main job, the animated cat, had to be constructed within the limitations of the broadcast version of the software.... basically without many of the character tools I usually depend on.

C'est Wow demo reel from Vincent-louis Apruzzese on Vimeo.
3d graphiques, character animation and effects video integration for Apartment 11 Productions Montreal Quebec

12 January 2015

Copps Hill book now for sale on Amazon

My photo essay and history of Copps Hill Burial Ground is now for sale on Amazon.com as a printed full colour photo book! For those without iPads or who wanted  physical copy, this is the place to get one. At the moment it is only 8.99$ but will go to 9.99$ fairly soon.

Buy the book

you can still buy a digital version on iTunes of course for 4.99$

01 January 2015

dessin: Arthur et Chat

another one done. This time there were issues with the Wacom tablet. Ever since updating to Yosemite with the new computer Wacom has released a series of worthless updates to the tablet drivers. In the end I uninstalled it and installed my 80$ Monoprice tablet I use for travelling. Works perfectly. Wacom needs to pay more attention to these things with tablets threatening to take over the market they were king of for so many years and with cheaper tablets doing almost as good a job.

Shirt, jeans overalls, cat fur an hair this one has a lot of things that are challenging to draw for me. I kept away from using greyscale shading on much of the ink work as I wanted it to be more traditional looking and adding a little gray shadow here and there can hide a thousands sins and I'd rather just avoid the sins... sometimes.   :)