Production Update 105

I know, I know. There has been a lack of posts for over a week, and maybe you are wondering what I am up to. It’s been a busy period so let’s get this production update started off with some awesome news. First off, test prints are done. You may be asking “what is a test print”? A test print, is a single print of a project, in this case, it was my character pin-ups for AnimeFargo artist alley. The 4 character pin-ups each had its own test print. By doing this, I am able to see what areas are too light, too dark, or if there are any clipping areas or artwork errors in the pieces final form. Since colors on your computer screen are different from how it will look after print, the test print allows you to tweak your artwork.

I have all of the pin-ups revised, mostly solving the problem of them being printed a bit too dark for my liking. I will be dropping the files off at the printer again tomorrow night after work to get another test print in.

Last week I also took a couple days off to go to Minneapolis for a concert to see my favorite band Rise Against.

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I love their music and their message. You should check out all of their albums since they are fantastic and powerful. If you don’t believe me, check out one of their music videos. As an artist, I find so much inspiration in their music and our common interest in societal, political and other issues.

While in Minneapolis, I also checked out the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. If you haven’t been there, it is a great museum that has a ton of artwork. As usual I checked out the Asian art section, but they also had a powerful exhibit on death and the art of death.

Back to work this week on freelance work and wrapping up some more things for AnimeFargo! Hope to see you there.

Recent Viewing: A-Li-Ce

I can’t recall if I mentioned that I recently bought some older anime or not, but I did. For the last several years I have been interested in the 3D animation scene in Japan, or lack thereof. A couple years ago, I presented some of the things I found and thought were interesting about it at the SGMS conference in Minneapolis (which is being held again at the end of September).

I thought it would be fun to expand on my presentation and dive a little deeper for AnimeFargo September 26-28th. The first thing I wanted to do was start digging into some of the early 3D titles to come out of Japan, which led me to the film A.Li.Ce.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a trailer to show you clips of the title, but here are a few links if you are curious. (IMDB) and (Anime News Network)

A.Li.Ce may be the first full 3D animated film to come out of Japan, which would have been around the time of Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc in the US.

Visually, the film looks like cutscenes from RPG games of the same period with some shots having aliasing issues (pixellation). I am not surprised about some of the visual quirks, it was a standard at the time for places not named Pixar.

The story of A.Li.Ce revolves around a girl named Alice and her travels in space and time. While traveling in space, she actually travels into the future and runs into Yuan, a young boy who fixes robots. The two embark on a journey that involves a ruler named Nero and a super computer.

The plot has some pretty big and sometimes awkward gaps. Which I felt was a little surprising considering the novelty of the 3D animation and the potential marketing tool of that alone, I would have expected a cleaner story. There is also a weird appearance change by one of the characters in the film, something you don’t see too often. I’m not talking about a hair cut or something small like that.

The film was dubbed by ArtsMagicDVD. I don’t mean to beat them up, but the dub for the film is really bad. I would like to think that if the dub was better, it would have made the film  a little more tolerable. As it stands, the film doesn’t have much for replay value. On a positive side note though, ArtsMagicDVD is the facility that released the other 2 full 3D features I intend on watching this month yet. The A.Li.Ce DVD also has some nice extras that I haven’t fully made my way completely through yet either. If your a fan of full 3D features, it’s worth checking out just for the fact it may be the first 3D feature to come out of Japan.

Production Update 104

I hope everyone had a great extended weekend! I enjoyed some time in the garden and visited some family to relax as a very busy month is just around the corner. I wrapped up the 4th and final pin up for my artist alley table at Anime Fargo at the end of September. I am aiming to get them dropped off at the printer for a test print this week. Just need to run the text on the posters by an editor/writing friend for some feedback before taking them in. I am very excited to see them in the final form :) The purpose of running a test print/run is to make sure the colors all look good and there aren’t areas that are too dark or too light, etc.

While those are at the printer, I am going to be working on getting my presentations into Keynote, a program similar to Powerpoint. I have to do a few updates to one of the presentations and the other one needs an overhaul.

So what else needs to get done in September? Well, I also need to get back on my 3D tutorials, I have been slacking on that front this past couple weeks. I also did some preserving of some fruit since winter is around the corner and it really got me thinking about doing a presentation at some point at a con about dieting and nutrition. I am not an expert on the topic at all, but it is something I enjoy learning about and trying to eat and live a healthier lifestyle. Would maybe need to partner with someone on that topic. I also have animation group this week and we are talking about expressions. I enjoy learning about those and seeing ways that those can help in my workflow as well. I also have a few freelance projects coming in so I can get the Cosmic Rage balance built up again for future needs and maybe a vacation ;)

Christmas in the Summer

I thought about saving this topic for the Production Update, but I decided to do a post on it since I haven’t seen or read anything recently to review. So I guess that worked out well! I have made it known that I have been doing some freelance work here and there to pick up some extra money to fund the entire project. Maybe episode two will be produced a different way, but as of now it is what needs to be done to keep the ball rolling.

Anyways, I have spent some of the funds on some upgrades and I thought I would share some of that with all of you. First off, since I have been working on my 3D modeling skills, I upgraded my 3D software, Cinema 4D, since it has new modeling tools that I want to learn. That was the majority of the cost, 3D software is not cheap :/

I also purchased a sound library since good animation can quickly be ruined by poor audio  sound effects and quality. The sound effects will be plugged in by the audio artist I have been working with.

To top it all off, I got a new plug-in for Adobe After Effects that will help create some great distortions and also a couple 3D models for some of the next scenes I will be working on after I wrap up the pin-ups for Anime Fargo.

I even ordered a few obscure anime titles… so obscure it paid more to ship them than the actual movies cost. That is US shipping too, nothing international. You will have to stayed connected to find out what titles those are. ;)

Production Update 103

Last week was a little bit of a whirlwind. I planned on putting in some late nights for an art competition, but decided to back out of it. I would have stretched my self very thin for a good chunk of time and after mulling it over a bit I decided against it. That was initially why I didn’t do the blog posts, I was going to commit that time to the project.

So with that time, what did I get accomplished? Well, I officially have 3 of my pin-ups ready to go for AnimeFargo in about a month. I have one left to complete and I intend on having that one wrapped up for next week.

I also have some exciting news, I will be hosting 3 panels at AnimeFargo! So I have done a little bit on getting some presentations ready. The run down of panels will be, a session for Q/A on storytelling and techniques. This will be predominantly an open forum for questions, answers and discussion, things to get you started or get you over the road blocks to get you started on your storytelling journey. The second panel will be on the various types and techniques of animation, just in case you want to use animation as a storytelling medium or see what types of animation is available for you to use or watch. The final panel is a look at the history of 3D CGI in Japanese anime. 3D has always been an intriguing topic in anime and the history of it has been an interesting journey to watch. The presentation will have some clips of titles and we will look at different ways CGI is used in anime.

To sum it up, you should check out AnimeFargo! As for next week, looking to wrap up the last pin-up, Jani, and work on my presentations too.

Recent Viewings: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Recently I have been checking out the local anime group and working on becoming a little more of an active member in the anime community and seeing if there is a way I can get involved in helping the con scene as well. It has been a couple weeks and I have met some fun people too. :)

Over the course of the last couple weeks, the club was finishing up a series called Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. I missed the first 3 episodes, but got a quick run down from the group on the story so far. It is a short series, spanning only 11 episodes.

One of the interesting facts about the show is the production life of it. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was being produced as a show about what would happen in case of a large scale earthquake in Japan. How would major government entities react? The show was made because based on scientific data, a large earthquake was due.

When I got into the show, a brother and sister duo had recently met an adult. The older sister Mirai, her little brother Yuuki and Mari the adult, wee journeying through the city looking for each of their families together. Checking through schools, hospitals and area checkpoints, the three work their way back to their houses to try and locate family members.

The middle of the series (about episodes 4-8) seemed to be a little repetitive and follow the same formula of Yuuki and Mirai roaming around after Mari gets distracted. Personally, I don’t think the children would be out roaming around as much after such an event, but I understand that is needed for story progression.

The ending of the series is where I found value in the show. Having said that, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is not a series I would own, but it is worth a watch if you have the opportunity to.

Production Update 102

Last week I set the goal of finishing up 2 pin ups. I didn’t get them completely finished but I made a great amount of progress. The hold up came on the render front. I have both of the pin ups completed, however the renders are taking a little longer than I anticipated. So I haven’t been able to composite the backgrounds with the characters and add in the finishing touches. I blame myself for not setting up one of the files to render over Saturday night, but I decided to set it up Sunday and to run some errands in the mean time. I have another set up for Sunday night so compositing this week should be wrapped up over the first part of this week.

After that, I am down to one more pin up and have a few other loose ends to get wrapped up in preparations for artist alley. More updates on the artist alley front coming soon!