Production Update 100

It’s been a busy week, so let’s recap the progress. I had a great meet up with a couple local independent film makers, where we discussed writing and some other aspects of film making. In terms of writing, we tackled short and long form stories and even touched on dialogue. It is great to have resources and individuals to discuss things with and get each person’s unique perspective on various aspects of writing.

I was able to get in a few of my 3D modeling tutorials as well. I have already learned quite a bit and the keyboard shortcuts based on repetition are going to save so much time later. Aiming to get a few more of these knocked out this week and to wrap up the modeling portion of the first course.

I wanted to spend some time this week on my artist alley posters and had a really successful week. I finished up the second drawing and was able to ink, color and shade both pieces I have been working on. I am aiming to wrap up one of the posters this week.

In preparations for my first artist alley appearance, I also designed and ordered some cards for people to be able to pick up and remember the series and also has links to the blog and social media outlets. They should be here at the end of the week, so you can bet that I will be sharing those online once I get them!

The only thing I didn’t get done this week that I wanted to, was the animatic for the portion of the motion comic I am working on. The current plan is to get on it tomorrow night and get it things timed out and roughly rendered. Also planning on attending a one day “mini” con in my hometown next weekend. it will be their fist event so I am eager to see what they came up with.

Recent Viewing: A Good Day to Die Hard

Action movies have a special place in my movie realm, after all, I grew up on action movies as a kid. When we would go visit family we would watch whatever action movie my uncle had on tape, which mostly was made up of a collection of Lethal Weapons and Die Hards. I recently watched all of those films in the last month or so while I was working on Cosmic Rage. Of course every time I finish watching a franchise like that I have to go online and see when the next in the franchise is going to be released. For instance, rumors online are that Lethal Weapon will be rebooted in the coming years. However, I haven’t seen the latest film in the Die Hard franchise so I decided to remedy that.

The film has the premise of John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes to Moscow to rescue his son who is in prison, only to find out that his son is a spy and is protecting a political prisoner. While the premise of the film sounds like it could potentially be solid, there were certain things in the film that didn’t fit the series and it felt out of place. My main complaints with A Good Day to Die Hard had too much CGI and it really felt like bruce Willis was handing the franchise over to his son Jack character, Jai Courtney.

The film followed around the 2 McClane’s as they argue about what to do and past history that we never get a glimpse of. The two characters have a rift between them and we get nothing as a member of the audience and only get a resolution at the end that feels predictable. As they venture through Moscow and eventually out of the city, Willis’s character seems to pass on his knowledge to his son, which is why the film feels like they are introducing a new character to lead the franchise.

Bruce Willis’s character relies so much on knowledge of the previous films. This hurts the film in two areas. The first being character development; since his character is already developed and has been in the previous 4 films, there isn’t much left at this point for them to do considering the character’s age. The second is the character’s karma. We know his luck in situations and we know how his brain works, so when he has a gut reaction to certain situations, it really foreshadows the film because he is never wrong. The premise of the movie felt better suited for another franchise, not one with a well established character.

 

Production Update 99

About midweek I decided to change the workflow of how I was going to handle this batch of shots. Typically I have been working on one after the other. However, I decided for this next scene I want to work get some of the “pre-work” done first and then go in and focus on each shot. This way instead of jumping back and forth between things, I have spent the majority of the week rendering out backgrounds and render passes so I can have things prepped to animate. I may have to go back in and set up animations in Cinema 4D, the 3D program I use for the backgrounds, but the cameras will be in the area I need them to so it will be a matter of animating the camera moves. I have locators placed in the scenes already for compositing work.

I was able to prepare about 10 shots, I already had some prepared. In total, this scene is composed of 12 shots.

This past week was pretty busy, I had an animation meet up and also attended a local art festival over the weekend. I was a little disappointed since it was more craft based content instead of traditional artwork and such, but it was a good time.

This upcoming week I am attending another local meet up, this one is based on film making. I also am aiming on switching gears a bit this week and getting some more work in on my artist alley artwork for later this fall. Should be able to get back into these shots and get working on them as well!

Production Update 98

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I got quite a bit of work done in the first part of the week, later on in the weekend I had some gardening things to do. I actually had a deer jump the small fence that was intended to keep the rabbits out and ate my lettuce and peas. Needless to say I had a little bit of clean up to the plants and also some fence extension projects going on. Anyways, I was able to finish top the exterior shot I wanted to, check it out below!

Warehouse_Exterior DEPTH

I also wrapped up a fight shot and started some compositing on another. I am hoping to get a couple more fight shots done this week which is already starting to fill up a bit. I have a presentation for our local animation group meet up to prepare and there is also a local “arts in the park” event I plan on attending.

Around those events, I am aiming to get in some more 3D modeling lessons and of course more fight scene animation and some drawing!

Recent Reading: The Flowers of Evil Volume 10

July is here already and there is no better way to start the month off with a new volume of Shuzo Oshimi’s The Flowers of Evil series. I apologize for being wrong in my last post about the series, it looks like volume 10 was out sooner than I expected and it isn’t the final volume!

One of the biggest things that stood out to me with this book is the artwork. The cover of the book is absolutely gorgeous.

tumblr_n4eeh2czAv1rskdrao1_500

The cover really prepares you for some awesome artwork inside. In particular there is a 2 page spread towards the end of the book that maybe rivals some of the imagery in the earlier books where Nakamura and Kasuga are in the school at night.

At times I would get lost in the art, looking at the grittiness of the hatching in several shots. The environmental shots are amazing, it is one of the best parts of manga, they tend to focus more on settings. Several areas in the book have periods where you get to look at the artwork instead of reading word balloon after word balloon.

This series really hits on the storytelling notion “show not tell”. The facial expressions and more aid the lack of text. Seeing a characters reaction is more powerful than being told how the character is feeling. This might be one of the best volumes I have read.

Seriously though, I can’t get enough of the art in this series, my words don’t do it justice.

In terms of story, after volume 9 I felt a big plot twist was needed or some more conflict. While I think volume 10 may have wandered in one section a bit, the progression of the story was sufficient and didn’t leave me disappointed. Who knows, the area that I felt wandered a bit, could still have a role in the story in future volumes, it’s one of the downsides of reviewing volumes as they come out and not the story as a whole. So take that personal feeling about the story with a grain of salt.

I am very high on The Flowers of Evil, I haven’t had a series keep me this engaged for a while. Very excited for the next volume from Vertical.

Production Update 97

Back on schedule with an on time Production Update for the week. I felt I had a really productive week, in the office and outside of the office. The vacation really has recharged my creative batteries.

I got new audio tracks to lay in for a couple of scenes and some edits have been sent in. I also wrapped up my pin up poster for Zeth for my artist alley appearance this fall. I think the next character poster I am going to tackle is Fenix. I have gathered reference materials for more of the pin ups this weekend.

I have some compositing to do on the third exterior shot, but the rendering is complete. I also started working on the next shots in the fight scene, I have some compositing to do for the shot I am working on as well. I am hoping to wrap up both of those shots tomorrow night after work.

This past week, I also spent some time in my garden since it was a nice week to be outside and it hasn’t been nearly as rainy as it has been. I also started some new online courses as well. This time I am going to be working more on my 3D modeling skills, which I am very excited for and has been something I have wanted to do for a while now. I even have a new date for out local animation group determined and have been lining up presenters for that. It’s been a great week and looking forward to working on some more fight scenes and getting them wrapped up!

Recharged!

My posts and updates to the site have been a little spotty in the month of June and while it may seem like I have been slacking off and the project may not get done, nothing is further from the truth. June has seemingly flew by and July and another holiday are almost upon us. I spent the first part of June really working on some exterior shots for the motion comic so I could get them rendered over the vacation, which was much needed. I went to the Black Hills in South Dakota and did some hiking and really unplugged for 5 days. I didn’t use the internet and just set my computer up to render and let it go (as you can see in the picture below of my makeshift render station).

IMG_0359

While the scenes rendered, I enjoyed some time in the outdoors. The west river side of South Dakota has some great hiking if you ever get the chance. This is the view from the top of Harney Peak, which is over 7,000 feet.

IMG_0586

I have covered the importance of unplugging from your computer a few times, but it is always worth repeating and always fun sharing some of the things I unplug for. It is nice to step away from the computer and get out in nature and into the real world. I also have to do what I can to spread the word about an awesome area to hike and you can check out Mt Rushmore too.

The time away from the computer allows me to mentally recharge and give my eyes a break from looking at pixels. A small break can act as an instant refresher to your creative batteries and allow you to get back to things 100% when you do get back to a computer. Be sure to check back on Monday and see what I got done this week. ;) One last picture for the weekend!

IMG_0627