Production Update 89

Production Update time is here again. This week I was able to finish up the 3 shots I was doing pre-work on last week. Here is a piece of production art from this weeks batch.

Match Faceoff

I did have a render issue with one of the shots that I discovered early in the week so I had to re-render that over the course of the week. It was a simple matter of adjusting the anti-aliasing. When you have the setting too low on certain materials it looks “noisy” or pixels will look like they are flickering between frames.

I also received some new audio files from my sound partner, Looking forward to compiling a few shots and getting them added into the test story file. Speaking of test story file, I was experimenting with some animation for the type and have found that none of the available solutions are working the way I want. I might look into coding something that will work the way I need it to. I need to talk to someone more experienced in the code department to see if it is something I can make or if it is too complex. Should be fun!

I will be starting the first shots of the actual fight scene soon too. I might dabble in that area this week but I have also started prepping some things for the next scene, which means 3D models and things like that. The reason for this, is that I can get 3D files rendering at night while I sleep and after work I can work on the fight scenes since the environment is already created.

A couple quick side notes. I applied for my first artist alley and panels at a con this fall. I should know soon if I will be accepted and I am very excited for the potential opportunity to share my work and hopefully help aspiring artists. I also have everything in order for the first animation meet up in my city in a couple weeks. Very excited to meet other local artists and can’t wait to share animation tips, software, etc with all of them. Just some of the behind the scenes stuff going on!


Behind the Scenes: 3D environments

I have been planning on writing this post for a while and now I have the artwork to show for it. One of the reasons I chose this workflow for Cosmic Rage, was that I could model environments in 3D and position cameras around to capture different backgrounds that I need. For instance, the image below is one of how my 3D environment is set up.

Environment wireframeYou can see several views, all wireframes, of the ring, lighting and notable scene items such as; the ring, entrance ramp and the large entrance display. The 2 green outlined cameras, allow me different shots of the scenes.

production arena0500The above image is a rough render from a camera. This will give you an idea of the textures for each item in the scene. The large gray panel, can be replaced in another program (After Effects) to provide graphics for the characters entrances.

4-3 Fenix Entrance

In this shot, I repositioned the camera to frame up on the entrance ramp. You can see same blue barrels (with flames) in this shot as in the shot above. All of the objects retain their 3 dimensional space, so you need to reference a couple angles when laying out objects.

Zeth_fanfareThis is a recent image from earlier this week, again with a new camera angle. Again, all of the texturing, lighting and such stay the same to keep scenes looking consistent.

Fenix titleThe above image shows that I modeled the entire back wall that you couldn’t see in previous images, so I have all 360 degrees of the environment covered.

More in Depth

In the 3D scene, I was able to make things called “object buffers” they would allow me to essentially cut out certain objects so I can place things around them to make them blend into the scene. I’m trying not to get too technical. In each new shot, I can remove these “passes” or object buffers and I don’t need to continually set those up for each shot.

I can position artwork around in the scenes by placing “null objects” in the scenes and exporting them out. By doing this, I can track my illustrations into the scene and not have them float around in 3D space.

Production Update 88

It’s a late post up time, but I hope it is worth the wait for everyone! This last week I had a really productive few days of working on Cosmic Rage. I completed 4 shots and have started prepping another 3 shots for this week. I was hoping to get to them over the weekend but I forgot my laptop cord at home when I visited my parents so I was unplugged all weekend, which is a good thing, it was a nice weekend and I got a chance to get outside and enjoy the weather.

I do owe everyone some production art so here it is!


There have been a few moving parts to Zeth’s intro for the first episode so it was easier to do all of the shots together. The next three are all before the battle begins. If everything goes according to plan, I should get a chance to work on those shots Tuesday night and hopefully start working on a new area.

I am really excited about the amount of progress that was made, and really hoping I can keep things moving along. Thanks for checking out the update!

Recent Reading: Summer Wars Material Book

I took a break in between The Flowers of Evil to read the Summer Wars Material Book from  Udon Entertainment. It isn’t so much a reading book as it is an art book. My art book collection is quite a variety and when I saw a Summer Wars book, I had to add it to my collection. If you haven’t seen Summer Wars, first off where have you been? Seconly, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now. Check out the trailer below for what you can expect.

After checking out the trailer, you are probably wondering what a material book is. The Summer Wars Material Book covers all kinds of art assets from the movie. As you know, animation is a very time consuming process that involves many artists from a variety of backgrounds and specialties.

With that many people working on the same project, there needs to be a definitive guide for all of the artists to reference so characters are wearing the same clothes, hairstyles and more in each of the shots for continuity.

The book includes all of the character designs from the main characters to the characters that are only involved in a few shots. We have character model sheets and brief descriptions of some of the characters and what they were inspired by.

My personal favorite chapter, involves the designs of the world of Oz. It includes designs of character avatars, typography and even element designs. The book also includes a chapter on the designs, floor plans and more of the house and surrounding area where the majority of the movie takes place.

There is an interview with director Mamoru Hosoda as well. The interview provides some good insight to the start of the film and the retreats they took when they were designing characters and the story. I am always very fascinated to hear how others work and if there is anything I can add into my workflow. It is worth checking out if you are into anime production or the artwork. Hosoda is being regarded as the next Miyazaki too after his latest film Wolf Children. Whether you agree with that assessment, there is no doubting Hosoda’s talent.

Production Update 87

Finished up all of my freelance work this past week, and decided to take the weekend off from the computer. Mostly brought on by the fact one of my websites went down and I needed a break from the screen.

The nice weather was a good time to get out and explore some of the hiking trails by my apartment. I also decided to finish up watching Kids on the Slope, so I will have a review of that up soon. This past week I got notification that the local animation group I want to start will have it’s first meet up in early May. It will be a group for artists to share tips, techniques and learn new software. The downed website is also back up as well.

March has been pretty spotty for getting work done, but the freelance work is needed to keep the project funded for now. I sent other scenes to my audio person who will be working on those.

Recent Reading: The Flowers of Evil Volume 8

I have made it 8 volumes into The Flowers of Evil series, and I must say, it is easily one of my favorite titles in a long time. The character development has been very intriguing. However, when we left the story in volume 7, we were introduced to a new cast of characters for Kasuga to interact with.

I will admit that volume 7 left me a little curious with what direction the story was going to go, volume 8 didn’t disappoint. A new character is introduced, Koji, who is Tokiwa’s boyfriend. Tokiwa introduces Kasuga and Koji outside her house. You can catch a glimpse of a jealous side to Koji as the characters begin to talk and get acquainted. The characters decide to go and hangout; Kasuga reluctantly.

Tokiwa, Koji and Kasuga meet up with other characters in a shack and have a discussion. As the conversation progresses, it shifts more towards getting answers from Kasuga about personal topics. Tokiwa comes to rescue Kasuga and ends the conversation.

Following the events of the group hangout, Kasuga and Tokiwa decide to go out and talk about books and writing. Kasuga is enamored with Tokiwa’s writing and urges her to finish her story. While leaving the area, Kasuga runs into a person from his past Saeki. We learn that it has been three years since the events in the first 6 volumes. Saeki and Kasuga meet up at the end of the volume and talk. The topic of their discussion really sets up volume 9 and has me totally sucked in again, which is out in April.

Production Update 86

This past week was one of those weeks that you wish you could forget. It started on Monday morning when my car had a flat tire and the rest of the week followed suit. Seemingly, every once and a while you just have one of those weeks. Some of the projects I have been working on have hit a couple unanticipated snags and are slightly delayed.

While this past week has been a little rough I am optimistic that Monday can provide a fresh start and the projects can be wrapped up so Cosmic Rage can get more attention. I have a small list of tweaks and edits for a few shots before I finish up another scene. Here is to turning things around :)