Monday, May 28, 2007

I has a Comic

Well, it's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks for me, since the end of every month is basically like the end of a semester. This month has been dedicated to creating hard surface objects in 3d, basically anything produced in a manufacturing type setting (such as home appliances or video game controllers), as well as traditional art projects. You know, the kind with a pencil.

I plan on sharing a lot of last month's stuff soon, but this week in particular, we did some storyboarding. I've already shared my storyboard from last month when I made my first 3D animation, but this storyboard was just something to practice the art of storyboarding. I realize this is a bit of a cop out, but I'm submitting this as my comic for the week.

Oh yeah.... I busted out some Flash skills to make it a bit more interesting. Hope you enjoy! (It might take a little while to load on certain internet connections).

If you're not familiar with the image that inspired my storyboard, check out these sites.

Thanks to Ross for introducing me to this glorious image, and to Mueller for introducing me to the titular URL.

Hope everyone has a good Memorial Day.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Moore of the Same

First of all, I want to preface this post by stating that this is NOT a political blog. I'm fairly out of the loop when it comes to politics, nor have I ever claimed to be a part of said loop.

Moving on, Michael Moore is coming out with a new dramedy documentary, "Sicko". If you don't want to click on that link, "Sicko investigate[s] health care with a focus on large American pharmaceutical companies and of corruption in the Food and Drug Administration."

From what I've read, Moore is up to the same old sensationalist tactics to entertain audiences while simultaneously presenting his view on a given subject. At one point Moore even takes soldiers injured in the Iraq war over to Cuba in an attempt to get them better health care than they've received in the United States.

I'm not going to try and argue the finer points of the United States approach to health care, nor Michael Moore's artistic license when it comes to presenting his case. All I'm calling into question is Moore's true motivation behind attacking the health care industry to begin with.

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While I was having my editor look over today's comic, we started discussing the topic at hand.

He put this question to me. If you were to rate the amount of Truth vs. Propaganda in Moore's documentaries, and compare that to the ratio of Truth vs. Propaganda that's come out of the Bush Administration's Press Office, how would they stack up next to each other?

Well, when it comes this stuff, I have no idea what I'm talking about, but what I do know is that this was the most interesting Michael Moore clip I could find on the internet.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Because "Plagiarencia" doesn't Have Quite the Same Ring to It...

It seems like I've been hitting the topic of comedy plagiarism quite a bit over the last few months in my Interesting Internets feed, and not in small part because it's already happened to me once in my fledgling comedic career. In case you didn't see it or just plain ignore all the stuff on the right hand side of the blog page, here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Pretty blatant, if you ask me. Ned Holness Carlos MenStealia Carlos Mencia has been hit particularly hard by these various accusations of late, and I have to say that I can understand where he's coming from. I too know what it's like to have the constant pressure of creating comedy gold, and as quite a few people are aware, (in particular the proprietor of a little blog called Skeet Throwin' (SFW)), I often turn to friends for help with new ideas.

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Now Mr. Mencia certainly isn't the only famous comedian who has been caught using other guy's material, but I think the main reason that he is getting more flack than some is that when he isn't telling other people's jokes, he couldn't even make these people chuckle.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I wonder if Bea Arthur will go that way...

Since I've move to Florida, there's been an interesting variety of wildlife in the residential areas that I've never had to deal with before. Of course when you think of Florida you think of alligators, and they do occasionally come near homes and golf courses around here. I luckily haven't had any encounters with the scary beasts.

What I have encountered, however, are plenty of anole lizards. (Not anal lizards. I'm looking at you Ben). Big ones, small ones, ones that climb on rocks... just tons of the buggers. When I walk from my front door to my car I literally see five to ten anole lizards dart for the bushes. For the prices they go for in pet stores ($5 usually), I should be able to pay for school with a little effort.

When my roommate Donny told me about a giant spider he'd found in his room, I thought maybe I could just dump a couple lizards in there to take care of the problem. It occurred to me that somebody may have taken this approach in the past, and I'm worried that course of action could escalate a little too quickly.

Friday, May 04, 2007

This should at least get me a job with Dire Straits

For those of you keeping up, the beginning of May marks the end of my first 3D class, and thus ends my introduction to Maya. I believe y'all were promised an animation...

Well I thought I'd take you through the steps, from concept to final cut. This is the same pipeline major animation studios use, and since I'm now familiar, I'm expecting to start interviewing pretty much any time now.

For this particular project, each group was tasked with making a 6 second animation. Each member would contribute 2 props and 6 seconds of character animation for one character in the scene. My group, named Monkeys Out of Nowhere (Thanks Andy!) had five people, thus our animation has five characters.

The concept our group came up with was a western motif involving a gun fight between two poker players. My character was the bartender. To start with, we each made a storyboard that showed the timing, camera work, and overall action. Basically, it's a comic strip, so not surprisingly, this was the most straightforward part for yours truly.

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Once everybody had their storyboards finished, I created an "animatic". This is basically just a real rough animation using simple geometry and coffin-esque shapes for characters. Each group member would use this as a basic blueprint for animation, ensuring that nobody would walk their character through a wall or something. Just to give you the overall gist; two cowboys are playing poker. One gets up, shoots the other through a window. The sheriff busts in with a shotgun, and blasts the shooter over the bar. There's also a piano player, who runs away. Ready? Aaaaaand action!

Now that we had the basic blueprint, animation could begin. Everybody saved a personal copy of the animatic, brought in their rigged character (which I believe I shared with you in another post) and started animating. After each person was finished animating, everybody would share their animation for use by the rest of the group. Also, some environment detail was added (thanks JR) so that things didn't look quite so bland.

When creating the final scene, each group member was in control of their own camera work. The idea would be to "film" with an emphasis on your character, meaning that we would be producing 5 different videos. Here's my initial cut after animating and importing in the other characters.

Once that was finished, all that was left was texturing, lighting, and rendering (finalizing). We were limited to flat colors for our textures, so don't expect anything fancy. Of course if you have been expecting fancy - you've probably jumped ship to another blog by now. So now that you've suffered through the entire explanation of how I made it, here's my final animation.

Pretty nifty eh? Well, I think so anyway. In addition to that, we also had to do some individual work. For mine, I chose to do another 6 second animation. No lighting or coloring, this was just focusing on basic animation.

That's it for this month in Full Sail. Next month I'll be in a more advanced modeling course - so hopefully I'll be sharing some 3D models of ninjas, pirate monkeys, or maybe a T-Rex Who knows.

Oh in case you were wondering if this is how it's done in the real world, check out this and this. Admittedly, we skipped the voice talent part.