Friday, May 26, 2006

For whatever it's worth...

... there is a sketch accompanying this post today. This drawing is slowly evolving into its own scene as a part of a larger project that's to become a part of my online portfolio, and already in the first stages of development. This is something I've been mulling over in my mind for awhile, exploring and tweaking the idea by using some of the script and storyboard development techniques I've studied as of late. The story and message are getting clearer, and more solid, but they still need some work before they're ready.
... when I first signed up for my e-mail account on Yahoo, I also signed up for a "Geocities" webpage so that I could dabble in design arts. I tested my ideas and creations on that page, checking out how things looked and fit together. I practiced writing html code and utilized resources that I came across while surfing or researching. The page underwent many changes and updates until I finally stopped fiddling with it and forget about it altogether. Now, however, it is about to undergo a major overhaul.
... my intent is to produce a website that will serve as an online portfolio. It will be presentable to potential employers as I go searching for professional employment. My goal is to have everything in place by the end of August, giving me 3 months to put it all together - a project for the summer months. I want the site to have both "design" and "content" to showcase competence with software programs along with creative and artistic skills.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

... I've owned a copy of Preston Blair's "Animation 1" for several years and recently acquired a used copy of "Cartoon Animation". I love these books, Blair's style, and, I believe that they need to be in any aspiring animator's reference library. When I discovered these tutorials using the books to teach, I started drawing right along with the lessons. Although I am not sending my work into the professor, I love the idea of using Preston Blair's work to strengthen animation and drawing skills. Like John K., I really believe that (re)learning this "40's style" of drawing and animation could lead to a renewed interest in 2D cartooning. I must admit, however, I don't follow the tutorials to the letter. I mean, I don't superimpose the published image over my drawing in Photoshop to compare and contrast. Instead, I pay attention to the key idea and compare visually, making changes to improve and learn how to do something.
... there's a little dilemna here. I don't want to draw cute little characters that have already been done a million times. I am interested in the fundamental concepts behind the construction of characters though. I think this sentiment is behind some of the bizarre character design I've seen online when I look at other people's work. It appears as if an artist will push to get as far away from those "fluffy little rabbits" and "mischievous chipmunks" as possible. That response all too often compromises the quality of the work. I recently watched something made by a Brazilian animator and his characters lost all appeal when he pushed too hard.
... whenever I go into any version of a "Dollar Store", I can't help but to look at the animation DVD's they offer. The other day I bought one that featured "Superman and other Cartoon Treasures" and had a very modern looking "Man of Steel" on the case. Of course, I was more interested in the "other cartoon treasures", fully aware that the Superman episodes were going to be the Max Fleischer cartoons. I was pleasantly surprised by two Merry Melodies cartoons that will never be seen on television again. The most interesting was titled "Inki and the Minah Bird". Note the spelling of "minah bird". Of course, "Inki" is a (very) black, spear carrying, grass skirt wearing, bone-thru-the-nose, cannibal type character ("politically incorrect and racially insensitive" by today's standards). He lumbers thru the picture in several chase scenes with a hungry lion and a wise guy mynah bird that constantly outsmarts the hungry lion. With the John K./ Preston Blair lessons fresh in my mind, the lion got my attention and I took a screen capture to publish here.
I can clearly see the shapes that form the lion now!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Cheap Trick...

... there's a reason for the title of this post! I was using the Painter IX.5 program after reading the "How To Animate" e-book that Corel has on their coursework webpage. I used Painter to create a few frames which I then imported and vectorized into Toon Boom Studio. I made the animation and exported it as a Flash file. I am very pleased with the way the programs work together and think that they will only help improve the work I can produce. Click the link to watch the little animation!

Friday, May 05, 2006

It is a very good Friday!

... At last, all the books that I ordered on Amazon are here and, as I previously stated in a prior post, I am devouring them. Also, I got a new software program, Corel's Painter IX.5, for use in my art and animation obsession.
... the Flash books exceed my expectations and are of great assistance in teaching me the program. Most importantly, they are easier to understand than the manual that comes with the program and, with these books, I haven't hit that "frustration" point - the one that causes me to close out and exit the program for a "time out". Berate the "_____ for Dummies"
and "Teach Yourself Visually" series of books all you want, they really help! Once my understanding and competence with the Flash program increases, I can always read the official manual and hone my skills with it.
... I own a free version of Painter (I think it's "Painter Classic") that came bundled with my Wacom tablet. In almost all cases, the bundled version is a watered down version of the program. Think of Photoshop LE vs. Photoshop, for example. It worked well enough for earlier projects, but I researched the latest version of Painter and decided it was worth the investment. I like Corel products a lot. Several professional artists I talk with, swear by these products. So do the professors here at the "U". Corel software is even installed on the computers at the local public library. I opened the program and played with it for a few minutes and noticed a few differences right away. The program loads faster and is sleek, stylish, and modern looking. There are new brushes that really enhance your work and allow you to experiment. There is one feature that I am dying to play with. You can make an animation in Painter IX simply by opening a new document, selecting "movie", and choosing how many frames you want in the movie! Oh, brother, am I ever gonna leave the house again?
... while you might giggle at that last question, it has a serious side to it. The other day, after work, the "boys" sat down together for a beer and invited me to join them. It was tempting, but I found myself declining the invitation so I could race home to study. There are times when I stay up way too late either, reading or working on a drawing, because I lost track of time. Sometimes, I "forget" to eat or ignore the dishes, sitting dirty and unwashed in the sink. I actually began to wonder if this was a healthy thing and I decided to make some changes. Now, I buy paper plates.