Monday, October 3, 2011

Computer Animation Follies

As part of the animation program's efforts to turn all of its students into well-rounded animators capable of working in both traditional and computer animation, 3D Computer Animation 1 is one of the classes I've signed up for this semester. The program the class concentrates its efforts on mastering is Autodesk Maya, an industry-standard animation, modeling, and ear-pulling piece of software. Despite my attachment to animating traditionally, I've found the class to be equal parts fun and infuriating. Oh, and I guess the professor is a pretty cool guy who has done some really excellent work in the past or something. Unlike with the traditional animation classes I've taken in previous semesters, 3D Computer Animation 1 has the added restriction of using a predetermined character who has already been rigged for animation. The character in question here is a happy little guy who goes by the name of Norman.

I've found Norman generally easy to use for the projects my professor has assigned, and he can be endlessly amusing to mess around with, but he certainly does have moments of weirdness and the occasional bout of the dreaded Gimbal Lock, which essentially is an interpolation error Maya runs into that results in one's animation going completely bonkers.

Well, maybe not completely bonkers.

Though all of the same principles apply to both computer and traditional animation with regards to slowing-in, slowing-out, arcs, staging, and all the other jazzy animator lingo, animating in Maya has proven itself to be a completely different beast from the ol' fashioned way of doing things. I may be more inclined to work traditionally when it comes to animating, but I do recognize the advantages and disadvantages of both working methods in addition to their innate similarities and differences. The biggest difference between the two is the newly-added layers of complexity and frustration that Maya's technical complications bring to the table. An easy analogy to make would involve comparing these tech issues to drawing and draftsmanship problems encountered when animating traditionally, but whereas I find it relatively easy to go back into a drawing and fix whatever glaring missteps I may have made, Maya puts up a fight nearly every time I try to patch up gaping holes in my animation. Obtuse concepts like Gimbal Lock and the manipulation of countless animation curves make things far more aggravating than they need to be, but I do feel like I'm getting the hang of animating in this crazy program.


It may just be that I haven't had enough experience working with Maya or Norman yet, but I certainly hope that they both decide to be more friendly in future projects.

Speaking tangentially, boy, I sure am bad at updating this blog in a timely manner, aren't I? I'll do my best to add some more entries as soon as I have something more interesting to write about.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alright, Youse Mugs...

What's this drawin' all about, eh?

This past January, I started up a Let's Play of a somewhat-known Super Nintendo platformer that goes by the name of Plok!* It's a game that tries your patience through some really un-fun vehicle segments and a punishing level of difficulty while simultaneously setting your heart aflutter with its brightly-colored visuals and rad musics.

Plok! is the second game that I've done a screenshot and text Let's Play of for the forums over at Doing a Let's Play of an action game in this format can be a bit tough; part of the appeal of an action game is to have some, well, action thrust upon your braincheeks. I find it difficult to translate that same sort of energy into text, so for both of my screenshot/text Let's Plays, I adopted a TV-program style gimmick to make entertaining the readers easier.

With my Zombies Ate My Neighbors Let's Play, I set it up to be like one of those crummy late-night horrorthons that would litter public access TV stations. Plok! was more like a Saturday-morning cartoon style theme with a neurotic, petty thief as the host. 

The image above is what I drew as part of the Let's Play's finale. I'd like to tell you more about how it got there, but- oh? What's this? A convenient link to the Let's Play, you say? Sure, why not!

*I don't know if the exclamation point is part of the actual title or not, but for amusement's sake let's say it is.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Welcome to Here!

Hey there, folks! It's about time I started up one of these, eh? Here's where you'll be able to see the sort of arting I get myself into, along with various other POINTS OF INTEREST.

It'll mostly be art-related stuff, but don't be surprised if you come across entries that don't fit the artsy criteria.

To start off, here's a few art-things I've scrounged together to give you a taste of what to expect (if you're new here, anyway).

This is a 30-second animation of my happy-go-lucky raccoon hero (what a mouthful!) Suko, who just so happens to have really bad luck with vending machines. The animation was the final project for my Animation 2 class over at Laguna College of Art and Design. I feel like the long hours spent working on it in the studio really paid off, though.

Mr. Pink Spandex right here is a new villain character I recently made up. He's a French-Canadian marten named Spencer with oodles of cash and oversized weaponry.

This chipper character is a redesign of Mr. Bean, the primary antagonist of Fantastic Mr. Fox (both the book and the film). He was final project in my Character Design class, where students were tasked with taking five characters from an existing story and redesigning them to fit a different genre, style, and time period, among other things.

Perhaps I'll say more about all this stuff later! For the time being, I just wanted to actually start up the blog after several months of deliberation.

Keep your eyes peeled for new stuff here!