Production Update 136: Post-4th of July Recap

Last week I mentioned that I wanted to get some artwork colored and also wanted to get all of the crowds composited into the shots that make up this scene. I didn’t get that done this week, but that is because I picked up a freelance project to work on to continue to fund the project. So I logged hours during the week and weekend on that project. With that said, I did get the piece of artwork colored that I needed to and I also was able to get some crowd work done, just not all of it. I have 3 shots left, which I aim to wrap up tomorrow night.

I spent most of the holiday weekend working in the garden. I had a lot of weeding to catch up on and I also needed to build a couple supports for a few plants that are growing. Both garden plots look really awesome now and should now just require the occasional weeding session instead of an entire day.

On the actual day of the 4th, I went hiking at Split Rock Creek State Park in Minnesota. It was a nice little park that had a dam you could check out and also about 3 miles of trails to hike. I would like to go camping at the park sometime before the fall. After hiking, we came back to Sioux Falls and worked in our gardens again.

Finally on Sunday I spent some time on the freelance project and also went to the garden for a bit and did some cooking. I spent the later part of the day working on Cosmic Rage and getting caught up on a bunch of small things that have piled up. The goal was to free myself up for the week to work on Cosmic Rage. Building crowds tomorrow and then looking to get into animation!

Production Update 135: Full Steam Ahead

Everything is returning to normal. No more vacations or long road trips to distant cons to inform attendees about the history of CGI in anime. Instead, I attended a “mini-con” in my old hometown of Watertown. I gave my presentation on CGI in anime and held down an artist table as well. I tried something new, which I actually learned from a friend at AnimeFargo last year, using a second monitor so other attendees could watch me work and see how Cosmic Rage is made and see what programs I use.

It was amazing to see such a great turnout for Akuacon, especially when I would have never thought that would have happened when I was a student there. It’s pretty awesome to see the progression of the anime community in a decade. I look forward to being a part of more to come.

On the production side of things, it has been a full steam ahead kind of week. I was able to get some good nights of work in and was really productive over the con as well.

In case you forgot, the current scene I am working on is composed of 9 shots (debating about cutting one). I was able to get all of the backgrounds done. This means they aren’t roughed out, I have final renders done and in After Effects for me to work with. There will be no time wasted in waiting for image sequences to finish rendering.

I was also able to start adding in the crowds to these backgrounds as well. I would estimate I am about half done with building the crowds, something I aim to finish up for next weeks update. Along with that, I did discover I missed a piece of artwork, so I need to ink that piece and also get the coloring and shading completed as well.

I do need to spend a bit of time over the holiday in the garden, since we are trying to get the weeds a little more under control since I spent so much of June traveling. July should be a less hectic and also with less miles. I also need to get another piece of production art up soon as well! Stay tuned!

Quick Update + Pain

Just got back from vacation in the woods in northern Minnesota. Needless to say, the internet connection up there is a little less than desirable which is why I missed this weeks production update. I also had a pinched nerve last week, presumably from working in the garden, so I missed some work time with that. Never experienced a pinched nerve before. I woke up one morning at 4AM and thought I was paralyzed, pretty scary stuff for that early in the morning.

Anyways, be sure to check back on Monday for another production update!

Poll: What do you want to see more of?

While I was at Akon, I had an awesome discussion with a fellow attendee about CGI in anime and other random things. Even during my panel, I had attendees ask about certain titles and what they used for CGI. It got me thinking, what types of things would you be interested in hearing about on the blog besides production updates?

Production Update 134: Another Scene Wrapped Up

As you can tell by the title of this post, I wrapped up a scene for Cosmic Rage in the week following Akon. I had two shots to complete and was able to get those knocked out. Here is a glimpse of this shot below.

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After this scene was complete, I started prepping for the next scene. The next scene is made up of 9 shots, and have a nice variety to them. While I was prepping this scene, I discovered that I missed a piece of artwork getting inked, colored and shaded, so I have that to do this week.

I also lost a little time over the weekend. I had to travel back from Dallas and also had a family medical emergency. Everything is good now, but that stuff is kinda scary when it’s going on. Very thankful that things turned out as positive as they could given the situation.

I did get a little time in the garden to catch up on wrangling the weeds and harvesting some lettuce and spinach. Looking forward to getting some hours in on Cosmic Rage this week and start roughing out the new scenes.

 

Convention Recap: Akon 26 in Dallas, TX

First off, let me say “what a con!” I truly had a blast at Akon this year, so let’s recap the madness. It was about a 12 hour drive from Sioux Falls to Dallas. I actually really enjoy long drives, something zen about driving and gives me plenty of time to think about stuff.

I arrived at the con at about noon on Friday. Getting my badge was a painless process and I also met some of the con staff. I spent a bit of time checking out the con and getting reacclimatized to where everything is. I missed Akon last year. I also scored some autographs before my panel.

The time came for my panel on Friday night and it went really well. I got to show off my newly designed slides and the audience had a good time looking at some bad CGI and discussing what we all have and have not seen. (Picture of the attendees below)

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I went to check out another panel, this one on podcasting, before taking off for the night and getting some rest before Saturday.

Saturday was a day full of panels and awesomeness. I met up with one of my friends and we attended a panel on translating manga. Little did we know, the panel head was also a translator who was going to be leading a Q/A session with Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the “I” in Production IG. He displayed some unseen materials and promos from some of their works and answered questions about Production IG, the anime industry and anything else we wanted to ask. He was even so gracious to allow us to take a few pictures afterwards.

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(Me on the left, Ishikawa on the right)

Production IG had some influential titles when I was first getting into anime. Ghost in the Shell was one of the first anime that I saw. This really was an amazing experience, and truly an honor to hear his opinions on the industry.

I attended a panel on voice acting, since I am looking for voice over talent. It was very informational since the panel was run by 3 different people and all came from different backgrounds, directorial, voice over for anime and voice over for gaming. Very cool stuff!

My friend and I grabbed a late lunch and checked out some more panels. One of which, was the Vertical panel on manga. They are the company that brought us the Flowers of Evil manga, which I highly suggested on this blog for just about anyone to read.

Sunday I allowed myself to be a little bit of a fan. I waited in line to get some Attack on Titan stuff signed by the voice actors. I went to the vendor room and picked up some merchandise, or should I say a mini library of art books. My love of art books may have to come in another post, but I picked up the following books.

Attack on Titan 1-4
These books contain the storyboards for several of the episodes and even show frame by frame drawings.

Kill La Kill
Admittedly, I haven’t actually finished this series yet but I had to pick up the book regardless. The show has such a unique style that I wanted to dive into behind the scenes content. I also haven’t seen this book anywhere before.

Terror in Resonance
I am excited for this show to be released at some point, but the overall design of this book was fantastic. I love looking at the background elements and seeing the hand painted detail. It even has a cool character flowchart to see how all of the characters are related to one another in the show.

Shinkai Collection
Speaking of sexy art books, the Shinkai book I picked up was fantastic. His artwork is simply stunning and again, the format of the book alone is worth a purchase.

I haven’t had a chance to really dive into all of these books, but as I get going through them I will get some comments or reviews of them up. I am eagerly awaiting Akon next year already.

And to the Akon staff, a big thank you for all of your work and planning!

 

Production Update 133: Post A-kon + Big Announcements

Wow, it’s been a busy week (which is why I didn’t get a chance to post). I had to put in some extra hours on some work projects and then headed off to A-kon for my second convention of the season. A-kon was a fantastic time, from staff to the fans to the layout, but more on A-kon later this week!

First off, I did a little work this week but nothing noteworthy to show off yet. However, there are some major announcements that I wanted to share at Akon first.

1) Going Back to School
When I was a student at SDSU, it was my 3rd college in 3 years. I started off studying graphic design before moving into animation once that program was starting. Due to my internship at the time, I couldn’t keep my job unless I was going to school full-time, so I elected to not finish my graphic design degree and venture into the industry instead.

I was recently talking to one of my old professors and he mentioned the graphic design requirements were changing and the courses would no longer be offered in the city I live in. So this was my last chance to get my degree without having to start all over, so I elected to go back and finish it up. Your never to late to learn! Plus, motion design and graphic design are surely blending together more and more everyday. Keep that in mind aspiring students!

In terms of how this effects Cosmic Rage, I need a handful of classes but really looking at about one a semester.

2) Need for Voice Actors and Actresses
That’s right, I am looking for voice over talent for Cosmic Rage! If you don’t recall, I made the decision to make a full animated motion comic upon completion of the e-book. Look forward to more announcements on this front. I need to create some character materials specifically for voice over talent in the near future. Very exciting stuff, so help me spread the word to aspiring talent!

3) Art Grant Awarded
Earlier this year, I applied for an art grant for Cosmic Rage. The plan with the grant was to work full-time on the project for a month. I found out just before A-kon that I have been awarded the grant. The month of work will hopefully focus on the animated version, which is why I am putting out the call for voice over talent. Final word on the grant should occur sometime over the summer.