Busy Busy Week

As you can tell, I missed the production update at the start of the week. This past week has been a little on the crazy side, so I decided to just merge my usual two posts into one. From a production standpoint, I didn’t get much done at all, let me explain. It was a rough week from a medical standpoint, not me personally but I had a family member have to take a trip to the ER and a few of my close friends had family get sick, have operations and even one passing away. I talked to them as needed and tried to be there for what they needed. I haven’t had to cope with a family loss for a while and know it isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. I’d do anything for my close friends.

I had a quick turnaround project spring up that I needed to get done for a client and I had to my help my parents on a household project as well.

With all of those events going on, I was able to make the last half of Akuacon in my hometown of Watertown. The larger con, Sogencon, that was held in Sioux Falls, SD had it’s last year last fall, so the staff has been working on small one day cons to take the place of them and keep people interested. I didn’t know what to expect to start with, so I hung out in the gaming area watching tournaments. One of the con staffers made me feel really welcomed and I played in some tourneys and chatted with more of the staffers and gamers. I have been off the con seen for a while, outside of a couple last year, but the larger events with panels are easier to blend in if you are a solo act. The mini-con was a fun time and I met some new friends. I hope to work with them and help with the con scene in South Dakota and get a con back in East river South Dakota.

If you recall last week, I mentioned the business cards I ordered. Well, funny story, as it turns out the UPS guy decided to leave them on the doorstep and it rained. You can’t make this stuff up. So the majority of the cards were destroyed, stuck together after being soaked. I was able to save a few (as you can see below) and more are on order. Thankfully Vistaprint was nice enough to understand the situation and are replacing the order. No complaints about the customer service at all, in fact I think that is great service and I wanted to share.

I am aiming to get back on track this week and get these posters done for AnimeFargo! My goal is to get at least one more done this week, I may have another project to work on this weekend, but I have deadlines set for August. Should be a fun month and looking forward to sharing more!

 

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Recent Viewing: Godzilla

I have been wanting to see Godzilla since it came out in May, but through the grapevine I heard bits and pieces of the film and decided I would wait to check out the film until it went to the cheap theater in town. I don’t want to get into some of the things I heard prior to the film, and I am going to do my best to avoid spoilers in the film since it has only been out for a couple months.

I also need to preface this review by saying I can’t recall watching any of the previous Godzilla movies or any other “kaiju” films for that matter, outside of Pacific Rim. So with that in mind, let’s jump in.

The opening credits to the film, did a nice job of setting up the film. It had a nice top secret government, “for your eyes only” feel and it had some old historic footage to add to it. The movie opens with some nice paced and well laid out scenes and doesn’t look back from there. The pacing of Godzilla was something that really left an impression on me leaving the theater. None of the scenes felt too long or unnecessary and the film did a great job of making sure that each scene progressed the story. This is my initial reaction of watching the film for the first time, I could change my position after watching the film a few more times. But that is what we go to theaters for, to watch a film and be entertained. For me the film moved right along and told it’s story with purpose.

I didn’t know much about the production of the film heading into it, like what studios worked on the CGI, which there was a lot of. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the CGI in the film and the scope of the CGI from monster creation to city destruction and more. Considering kaiju films are not a big thing in the US I figured the CGI would be pushed to the end of the film and the rest would all be live action, not the case. The CGI was consistently used in the film and nothing seemed out of place.

I don’t think one would need to be a fan of kaiju to enjoy Godzilla. In my opinion, it was set up as a thriller film that a fan of suspense would enjoy, as long as they don’t have a misconception about kaiju films.

Maybe once the film is released for DVD/Blu Ray I will go back and revisit it a little more in depth and I’ll share some more of the film. Very pleased with the film and I will for sure be adding it to my collection when it is released!

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!

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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.

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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.