Production Update 41

It’s been a little bit of a mixed bag this week in terms of production. I have been working around a couple freelance projects that I am really excited to be working on. I get a chance to work with some great people and make some fun and engaging content.

I also ventured out on the first hike of the year due to the nice weather. I go hiking with a few creatives and its an awesome way to unwind and hear about other peoples projects and what they are working on and learning. It also allows for us to ask questions about what we are working on and get feedback and thoughts.

This weekend I also took on the task of replacing the hard drive in my computer with one that is faster and has more storage space. It was simply time to do the upgrade. It will allow me to keep more files on my laptop and require me to carry less external HDs and such along. Looking forward to the added space and upgraded speed.

As for the prologue, I tweaked the voice over and sent over a final draft to the composer to finish up the audio track and get it locked in. I have completed one of the new drawings that currently has a placeholder and have 2 more roughed out. Again, I will not be able to get these into the prologue until I get back home where my scanner currently is.

I was also able to hop back into episode 1 this week too. I rendered out all of the existing spots and created dialogue placeholders as well. The story is starting to get pieced together and this way we can go through it and make edits as we go. I also started working on one of the scenes in which I left off on before I started to create the prologue.

This week I would like to finish up the prologue drawings and also get working on episode 1 some more as well. Maybe even get some drawings done for episode 2. We will have to see, this week is packed with other things as well but I am confident I can get more work done.

Progress/Status:

Prologue:

Overall: 1:33:00  of 1:33:00
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 8/?
Inking/coloring/shading: 7/?
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: In Work/ VO is done

Episode 1:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: DONE
Inking/coloring/shading: DONE
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: NONE

Episode 2:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 3/20pages
Inking/coloring/shading: 0/20
Animating/Compositing: NONE
Audio: NONE

Recent Viewing: InuYasha the Final Act part 2

Synopsis– It has been close to 5 years since we last left off Inuyasha in the anime world and the gang of InuYasha, Kagome, Miroku and Sango were all still trying to regain all of the fragments of the Shikkon jewel and defeat Naraku. Other characters are also aiming towards Naraku, such as Sesshomaru, Koga and more. Naraku can create other forms with his pieces of the Shikkon jewel and uses these forms to try to destroy InuYasha and others. InuYasha the Final Act 2 is the epic conclusion to a series that had a run on Adult Swim back in 2000.

Review- When InuYasha had it’s initial run on Adult Swim, I never gave it much of a chance. When I got to college I had several friends that really stood by the series so I eventually caved in and gave it a chance. After the first season I fell in love with the cast of characters and their adventure to track down Naraku.

The final episodes in InuYasha the Final Act 2 didn’t disappoint. I don’t really know what else to say other than it felt very satisfying to see the show finally come to a close and get closure to the characters and what decisions they were going to make. InuYasha spans 8 seasons and 4 movies and were well worth the time. It’s not like I can suggest watching just one season out of all of them.

I personally, am a big fan of longer running shows because I am interested in the dynamic of telling longer stories and the challenges that arise in keeping them fresh and well paced.

If your a fan of longer running shows, InuYasha may be worth checking out. There are a few times where the story does drag a little, but find a series that spans more than 3 seasons that doesn’t have it’s moments. The good storytelling and interesting characters far outweighs the bad. The tagline for the show is a “feudal fairytale” and it lives up to that billing with a good mix of shonen action but also a counter balance of the relationships between characters that has it’s serious moments. It even has it’s comedic characters to give it a little bit of something for everyone.

Production Quality- InuYasha the Final Act 2 is one of my favorite aesthetics of any series. The hybrid of 2D, 3D and effects make this finale look really sharp. While the animation isn’t as smooth as a film may be that is to be expected with the shorter budget and more content to produce. InuYasha has some great visuals as you could expect since it is the final conclusion of an epic battle. The effects and 3D really add to certain shots, especially Inuyasha’s technique that cuts into a  space dimension, the same can be said of Sesshomaru’s technique as well. I can’t recall seeing battle scenes so masterfully put together in a series. I am a big fan of the titles out right now that can put the two styles together well. It is good to see the experiments of the last several years paying off in titles today.

Music- The opening and closing themes fit well into the soundtrack of the series overall and makes you forget the gap in production.

Dub Quality- The dub was very solid, fits in with the rest of the series and no characters switching voices after the layoff.

Extras- I was a little disappointed with the fact that InuYasha finally came to a close and the DVD had no extras of substance, just some trailers, credits and previews. Perhaps they are saving this content for some kind of anniversary set or something, but some interviews, commentaries or a panel discussion has to exist. No series of that popularity and with all of the anticipation for the final season, there is no way something along those lines doesn’t exist that could have been on the DVDs.

Both parts of the Final Act are available to stream on Viz.

Production Update 40

Happy Monday everyone! It’s been a very eventful week and things are starting to get closed out. I received the audio track from the composer and we are in the process of tweaking a few things and finalizing the audio. The audio sample that was sent over didn’t have the correct timing at the end, and that is my fault for not having a set-in-stone length of the prologue to start with.

There has been a great amount of progress made over the last week but there are a few loose ends left to wrap up. Here is a summary of said loose ends. As stated above, the music has not yet been finalized, but with a length determined, we can get this resolved. In the final scene there is also a placeholder for a design that needs to be created and also needs an illustration. I also need a couple more illustrations at the start of the prologue, but these illustrations will not be colored and shaded, just inked. Outside of those few assets the prologue for the most part has been completed.

The only bad news, is that I am going to be working on location for the next couple weeks and I do not have some of the things I need to get the artwork done and dropped into the prologue. However, progress will continue to be made on the project and I look forward to getting back to animating episode 1 and drawing on episode 2.

As promised, here is the production art.

On the Road

Progress/Status:

Prologue:

Overall: 1:33:00  of 1:33:00
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 7/?
Inking/coloring/shading: 7/?
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: In Work/ VO is done

Episode 1:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: DONE
Inking/coloring/shading: DONE
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: NONE

Episode 2:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 3/20pages
Inking/coloring/shading: 0/20
Animating/Compositing: NONE
Audio: NONE

Production Update 39

Writing production blogs is one reason Mondays are tolerable, so let’s jump in and see what’s going on as of late. This week I sent a copy of the prologue to my music composer to work on. We discussed the tone of the music and I feel confident we have a strong direction that fits the overall prologue. I look forward to seeing what he can come up with, he is a very talented artist that has created some tracks for other personal projects. He is also the composer of the 5 second bumper for reanimated fallout, my personal site for my professional work and training videos. We also hammered out a definitive timeline for the prologue, 90 seconds.

This week I also got a good chunk of compositing done on one of the remaining 2 shots. The 5 drawings drawings I needed to create are all now in the prologue. However, I do feel that I need to create a couple more which I have drawn this week and will get inked, colored and shaded to be added into the shot.

This week I also discovered a render error in the second shot that required a complete re-render. I was not happy with myself after discovering this. Mainly because I rendered it out when I was working in Vegas and didn’t ned my lap top. I should had checked the render sooner than I did since the re-render took up my laptop for about a day and a half. Which made working in After Effects a little less than desirable, especially when compositing and working with video files and 3D layers.

The other shot rendered fine except I did have some trouble with the import of the Cinema 4D file to After effects. This was a small thing that was overlooked and has been resolved. When exporting the project file, I had it only exporting out a section of frames instead of the whole shot, which added to things not lining up. I was rendering things in sections when I was in Vegas and figured out what happened when I opened up the project files. Fortunately this was an easy fix and didn’t require a re-render. Certainly a mistake that I will not make again.

On the topic of drawings and new images, I completed inking the remaining shots for last week and they are all dropped into the shot they are needed. The new images will be added into the scene I am working on now. I am looking at getting a new production image up next week when this shot is finished up. Stay Tuned for more updates!

On a quick sidenote, I did cut together a new demo reel of my motion graphics content. Check it out below.

Progress/Status:

Prologue:

Overall: 55:00  of 1:30:00
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 5/?
Inking/coloring/shading: 5/?
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: In Work/ VO is done

Episode 1:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: DONE
Inking/coloring/shading: DONE
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: NONE

Episode 2:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 3/20pages
Inking/coloring/shading: 0/20
Animating/Compositing: NONE
Audio: NONE

Recent Viewing: Tokyo Godfathers

This week I sat down and enjoyed another Satoshi Kon title I previously haven’t seen, Tokyo Godfathers. As I find true with other Kon titles, this movie doesn’t disappoint. In an interview in the extras, Satoshi Kon said that anime is more than just cute girls. He also said, and this is probably why I love his work so much, that more artists need to come forward with their unique stories. In an interview, he was questioned about the film starring homeless characters, which seems to have no target audience for marketing.

Synopsis- On Christmas Eve, 3 homeless friends with a rather love/hate relationship discover a baby abandoned in the garbage. The cast of characters includes; Gin, a middle-aged man, Miyuki, a high school run away and Hana, a drag queen. After a brief debate, the group decides they are going to keep the baby with them for the night and take it to the police the next morning. The next morning a series of events delays their trip to the police station. Over the course of the next several days each of the characters are confronted with the reality of their situation and get a chance to make up for previous mistakes to a certain extent while learning even more about their own inner being.

Review- Tokyo Godfathers had a great amount of fans when it first came out in 2003 and to this day it deserves every ounce of the praise. The film has a very unique perspective, as we are following homeless people during the holidays. This is very much a Christmas movie, Christmas decorations through the environments and music play throughout the film. The holiday and homeless characters really set up a scenario where you are almost instantly sympathetic for the characters, and as the story progresses you hear each characters scenario of how they ended up homeless.

*POTENTIAL SPOILER* Some of the stories the characters portray as events that lead to there homelessness are fabricated. As more events unfold, it starts to strip away the defensive facade of the characters and they open themselves up as to the true reason why they are on the streets. Their humanistic flaws that took them down a path they didn’t envision for themselves.

Tokyo Godfathers is officially added to the films I am going to watch every holiday season. It fits into that Christmas miracle film class with a nice side of comedy that doesn’t feel forced, it’s actually a really nice complement.

Overall the film comes together nicely and doesn’t have anything that seems out of place that takes the rest of the film down, like bad music or CGI for instance. This film is a true example of character development. Seeing the characters evolve over the films 90 minutes is truly a work of art.

Production Quality- Tokyo Godfathers was animated by the well-known Studio Mad House. In the opening of the film we see several night time shots of Tokyo and the environments are beautiful. The characters relationships with each other result in some very well exaggerated reaction shots from characters as they argue with each other. Overall a very well balanced approach to the Christmas miracle story with some great comedy.

Since Tokyo Godfathers was an early 2000’s film it does have it’s experimental CGI. There are sequences in the last half of the film that have CGI backgrounds, but they are mostly assigned to the shots of character chases. The CGI is much better than other examples of the period.

Having praised the CGI in the film, there are layer 2D shots that really feel wide and expansive. There is one shot in particular where the camera pans down from the sky to the street level in a park, and the depth of the surrounding trees and skyscrapers is amazing.

Music- A nice holiday sound track with some really festive tracks and some also quirky tracks to fit the film during the comedic scenes.

Dub Quality- I watched the subtitled version.

Extras- There are some trailers on as well as a “Making Of” chapter that lasts just under 25 minutes, most likely a special aired on TV in Japan to get viewers to the theater. It covers interviewing the voice actors, animation production, music composition and also an interview with Satoshi Kon. I enjoy specials like these, as it gives you an in depth look as to how it was made and you can also hear from the crew and their experiences. I wish more DVDs and series had these included, but know not all have them made.

Production Update 38

Normalcy is starting to return as I close out a few projects and return from traveling. It was a fun and exciting month, I was at a few different studios working with a lot of great people. but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my own bed and some home cooked food after a month of hotels, airplanes and eating out. I also took some time off last week to get some rest and to take a break from the computer but I was back in action this week.

The first item I wanted to get done was getting a rough draft of the prologue completed so I could get music started on it. That has been done, the composer has a draft of the prologue and will be working on creating a track to go under the voice over.

With a rough draft sent off for music, I now shifted my attention to finishing up some of the artwork and compositing. I have inked all 5 of the drawings this week and have started coloring them as well. I am confident I can get them all completed for next week as well as start compositing the drawings into the shots they need to be in. I am looking forward to getting back into After Effects and composite these shots to see how they look.

Progress/Status:

Prologue:

Overall: 55:00  of 1:20:00
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 5/5
Inking/coloring/shading: 3/5
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: In Work/ VO is done

Episode 1:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: DONE
Inking/coloring/shading: DONE
Animating/Compositing: In Work
Audio: NONE

Episode 2:
Storyboards: DONE
Drawing: 3/20pages
Inking/coloring/shading: 0/20
Animating/Compositing: NONE
Audio: NONE