Planning for 2015

With the big announcement earlier this week, I wanted to share a little bit of what the future holds for 2015 and Cosmic Rage. I mentioned about aiming to have the e-book version out by the end of winter and then hope to flesh it out to a full animated episode.

I have been working on recruiting potential people to help the Cosmic Rage project in a variety of ways, mostly in an effort to speed up production on episode 2.

I have also been looking into the con schedule for 2015 and have several picked out. Of the cons I have picked out, I plan on doing a couple artist alleys and applying for panel presentations at all of them as well. Most of the cons I have picked out are in the midwest area, so if you know of any or have any suggestions, feel free to contact me. Looking forward to seeing you all in 2015!

Production Update 110 and a big update

Production update time is upon us again, here we go! I traveled to Minnesota this weekend and did a little hiking with some friends before it gets too cold. It was good seeing my Minnesota friends again and going out for one of our creative hikes where we discuss our projects and other things we have going on. I unveiled a new plan to my friends, and will share it with you as well.

On that note, I have some big news in terms of Cosmic Rage and what the project will look like and where it is headed. When I was at AnimeFargo earlier this year, I participated in my first artist alley, but part of the reason I was there was to also get some feedback from fans about how I should deploy the project since it has evolved from it’s original vision. The e-book format worked but one thing I noticed from the fans, was that it appeared that they wanted to look at the animated sections. So the plan has changed slightly. Cosmic Rage will be released as an e-book, but we will also be aiming towards recruiting VO talent and making an animated episode. I will have to go in and alter some of the scenes for the animated episode, but it is on the slate. Very excited to share that update with all of you!

I didn’t know for sure if I was going to go to MN last week but decided to late in the week. I was able to complete another shot this week, not the three I wanted to get done, but I was anticipating those three if I didn’t travel. I got some good prep work in for this week. Two 3D renders have been completed and need to be composited. As of now I have 4 shots left and only one of them may require a couple nights for a 3D render. Otherwise, I have 2 of them roughed out and ready to be finalized. I anticipate wrapping up one of them Monday night. The other shots I am going to finish this week.

By next production update I will have all of this scene done since I will be home this weekend and look to make some progress on the next scene, which I will update you on next week.

As promised here is some production art, a shot I finished up this week.

17_Zeth_Parkour

Terror in Resonance, an Alternative View

Before you read any more of this post, I want to let you know there will be SPOILERS to the show Terror in Resonance. This posting is in response to the recent Anime News Network podcast, it is meant to provide my point of view on the series. Enjoy the discussion!

I recently reviewed the show Terror in Resonance on my site and mentioned about how I enjoyed the show. It was sometime last week I was catching up on my podcasts, including  the ANN Cast, which I listen to regularly. The crew at ANN had a different perspective on the show and since listening to the episode I have thought about what I enjoyed about the show and how I perceived it. The goal of this post isn’t to defend the show, but simply to provide my own perspective and maybe open up another avenue for a viewer to enjoy the show.

The story centers around 2 youths who are terrorists but don’t kill people in their bombings. The two characters posses a nuclear weapon and play some games with the police. Eventually a special force is brought in to oversee the operation. The leader and the 2 terrorists all were experiments of a government program to raise super intellects.

Some of the criticism from ANN I can agree with. I thought it was a bit convenient for the main detective to have someone who studied nuclear technology in his circle. There wasn’t much set up in this aspect and seemed a little sloppy without any kind of set up or foreshadowing.

ANN said Terror in Resonance “was a wasted opportunity that clipped its own balls by making the 2 lead characters not kill other people”. At times, I agreed with this statement, it wasn’t until the end of the series that it made sense to me. I believe that the two characters are actually eco-terrorists. Eco-terrorism refers to acts of violence committed in support of ecological or environmental causes against persons or their property, from Wikipedia. Before you roll your eyes and close the browser window, hear me out.

Eco-terrorists don’t kill people, which would be in-line with the 2 lead characters belief systems. Some of ANN’s criticism of the series was that the series didn’t offer anything new to the concept or notion of terrorism, which I disagree with. I felt that Terror in Resonance’s main theme wasn’t about terrorism at all, but the over reliance on technology in society.

Throughout the show, there is the element of the nuclear weapon which I thought (and undoubtedly many other fans thought) was going to be used to either destroy a city or was going to be recovered by the police. There lies a common misperception in nuclear terrorism. Would terrorists detonate a nuclear weapon in a city and kill millions of people? Or would they target a high level detonation (such as seen at the end of the series) where it would disable an entire country’s electronic infrastructure?

If you want to learn a little bit more about Electro Magnetic Pulses (EMPS), this article from USA Today is a good start.

It’s an honest question to ask and one that I think the series tries to ask and start a discussion. Would one kill millions of people or kill them slowly by destroying their infrastructure and causing a massive rebuilding effort at home, one that would potentially limit the reach of a country on the international stage.

How would a technologically advanced society react to having no electronic infrastructure, meaning no cell phones or other means of communication. I don’t believe the show was framing terrorism from past events in the US or Japan, but to point out how fragile our society is to terrorist attacks.

The characters detonate the nuclear weapon at the end of the series to unplug all of society from their devices and get them to focus more on nature and living with it. There goal was never to kill people, it was to save them from technology and to save the planet.

It is with that lens, I look at Terror in Resonance. The viewpoint of the characters as eco-terrorists, which is why I find the series powerful and with a story worth telling.

 

 

 

 

Production Update 109

Admittedly, I didn’t get the week off to the aggressive start I wanted to. I had some thing I had to prepare for the retreat that took a bit more time than I originally thought. However, I did make some good progress on the retreat and in the car on the way home.

The retreat went well, spent some quality time with co-workers and learned more about our team. In the meantime, I was able to wrap up one shot, and get another prepared on the car ride. That shot will be wrapped up this week. I have three shots this week I am confident I can finish up, and 2 more shots that might take a little bit longer. Now down to 5 shots before finishing up this scene.

I have a 3D render to set up tomorrow night for one of the upcoming shots, that should take about 2 nights to render out.

I might have some travel at the end of the week, I should know more later this week. Next week I will aim to get up some new production art again for you!

 

Recent Reading: Flowers of Evil Volume 11

The day has finally come, the release date for the final volume of Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi. For the duration of the series, I have been long praising it as a model for character development and emotional artwork. Volume 11 added a new reason to read the series, Oshimi’s amazing ability to tell a story without relying on dialogue. There is a phrase in the comic and manga world “Show, don’t tell” and the final installment of Flowers of Evil does just that.

There are chunks of pages where the character expressions and environments tell the story so well that words are not needed. Truly amazing and strongly suggested as a series from me.

I got into the manga series after I watched the anime series and since the series wasn’t getting an ending, I needed to dig into the manga to get a resolution. I will admit, there were a couple volumes that had me a little concerned with how the story was going to play out, but the resolution was solid and didn’t leave me with any regrets or empty hands.

Volume 11 of Flowers of Evil has a chapter with some fantastic artwork that is very stylized. The stylization of the artwork works well since it is the way of a character telling a story.

After wrapping up the Flowers of Evil, I can whole-heartedly recommend this title to anyone, volume 11 did nothing to change my feelings on the piece. You can pick up all the volumes from Vertical.

Production Update 108

Recap time for the week, here we go. I revised some of the shots from last week, completing some small edits. I wanted to adjust a couple things that were bothering me, such as some of the animation timing and animation curves which control how smooth things play, happier with the revisions.

I had a shot where I was experimenting with some particles to get a desired effect during a fight scene, wanting to replicate some blood splatters. I decided to use a vector splatter and animate the different layers instead.

It’s been a while since I went to an art critique and since I recently found out about a local group meet-up, I introduced some of the my fellow local artists to the Cosmic Rage universe. I had time for some Q/A to explain my process a bit and touch on some inspiration. For the next critique I am going to be taking my test e-book in and get feedback on that.

I finished up another shot as well. This one had some character animation on Zeth so it was nice getting back into the swing of things and rigging the characters. I continue to learn more about layering and building the characters as I go.

For this upcoming week, it will be a short one. I have a work retreat towards the end of the week so travel will be involved. I am aiming to have an aggressive start of the week to make up for it since I am hoping to get the first episode out at the end of winter. Looks like I have about 6 more shots before I finish this first fight scene.

Recent Viewing: Terror in Resonance

The summer season of anime is wrapping up, so I thought I would recap the series that survived my cuts along the way, Terror in Resonance. One of the main reasons I wanted to watch this show was the duo of Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno, this duo has worked together on some noteworthy projects; Cowboy Bebop and Wolf’s Rain.

The series spans 11 episodes and follows our two main characters Nine and Twelve who are terrorists that are planting bombs. The two of them operate under the identity Sphinx and generally play some games with the police throughout the early part of the series, almost Riddler vs Batman-esque. Many of the riddles are based in mythology and mythological creatures.

The main police character is a detective named Shibazaki and a student by the name of Lisa Mishima gets mixed up with the group after an attack. Rounding out the characters is Five, a mysterious figure with a past link to Twelve and Nine.

The story becomes a cat and mouse game as three different motives are brought to light by the characters and their affiliates. From a pacing standpoint, I felt the series moved pretty well. The introductory episodes do a great job of keeping your attention and developing some of the characters. The middle lays out a bit more backstory to the characters as well as a story twist that leads to a solid payoff in the end.

I typically watch series several times over a period of time, that way I can get to know the series more and pick up on things I missed in the initial viewing. I bring that up, because I believe that there is a social or political commentary in Terror in Resonance. While I can’t go farther into detail on it since I don’t want to spoil such a new series, if you are into shows along those lines, it is a must see. Personally, I will be picking up this series when it comes out to add to my collection. Very good stuff from from the team of Watanabe and Kanno. You can watch Terror in Resonance on FUNimation’s site.

Did you watch Terror in Resonance? What were your thoughts?