Production Update 97

Back on schedule with an on time Production Update for the week. I felt I had a really productive week, in the office and outside of the office. The vacation really has recharged my creative batteries.

I got new audio tracks to lay in for a couple of scenes and some edits have been sent in. I also wrapped up my pin up poster for Zeth for my artist alley appearance this fall. I think the next character poster I am going to tackle is Fenix. I have gathered reference materials for more of the pin ups this weekend.

I have some compositing to do on the third exterior shot, but the rendering is complete. I also started working on the next shots in the fight scene, I have some compositing to do for the shot I am working on as well. I am hoping to wrap up both of those shots tomorrow night after work.

This past week, I also spent some time in my garden since it was a nice week to be outside and it hasn’t been nearly as rainy as it has been. I also started some new online courses as well. This time I am going to be working more on my 3D modeling skills, which I am very excited for and has been something I have wanted to do for a while now. I even have a new date for out local animation group determined and have been lining up presenters for that. It’s been a great week and looking forward to working on some more fight scenes and getting them wrapped up!

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Recharged!

My posts and updates to the site have been a little spotty in the month of June and while it may seem like I have been slacking off and the project may not get done, nothing is further from the truth. June has seemingly flew by and July and another holiday are almost upon us. I spent the first part of June really working on some exterior shots for the motion comic so I could get them rendered over the vacation, which was much needed. I went to the Black Hills in South Dakota and did some hiking and really unplugged for 5 days. I didn’t use the internet and just set my computer up to render and let it go (as you can see in the picture below of my makeshift render station).

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While the scenes rendered, I enjoyed some time in the outdoors. The west river side of South Dakota has some great hiking if you ever get the chance. This is the view from the top of Harney Peak, which is over 7,000 feet.

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I have covered the importance of unplugging from your computer a few times, but it is always worth repeating and always fun sharing some of the things I unplug for. It is nice to step away from the computer and get out in nature and into the real world. I also have to do what I can to spread the word about an awesome area to hike and you can check out Mt Rushmore too.

The time away from the computer allows me to mentally recharge and give my eyes a break from looking at pixels. A small break can act as an instant refresher to your creative batteries and allow you to get back to things 100% when you do get back to a computer. Be sure to check back on Monday and see what I got done this week. 😉 One last picture for the weekend!

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Production Update 96

I can’t believe it has been almost 2 weeks since my last update. I had a great time on vacation and have been refreshed since getting back home. Before I left for the trip, I was working on getting 3 exterior and environment scenes done so they could render while I was out hiking in the Black Hills. I was able to get 2 of the scenes done and have a solid start on the final scene. In my estimates, I would say one night of working on it this week should get it wrapped up and ready to render.

When I got back from the trip, I went to a local film maker group meet up and met some local film makers and we all talked about projects we were working on and set up a new meet time for the next one. It looks like we are going to tackle writing as a topic, so I am very intrigued to hear everyone’s perspective on it and what issues some of them have and how I can learn to improve my writing too.

The rest of last week I spent compositing the 2 shots I rendered out while I was on vacation, here is one of them.

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We have had 13 inches of rain this month alone so far, so I spent most of Friday night and half of Saturday in my garden weeding and picking some of the radishes that are big enough to eat. Sunday I spent working on a character poster for Zeth, for my artist alley table this fall in Fargo.

I am aiming this week to get that third exterior shot wrapped up, as well as wrapping up the Zeth poster so I can get back to animating the current fight scene. I will write about my recent trip for Thursday as well!

Production Update 95

Update time, let’s get to it. A lot of behind the scenes work going on for this week. I have been working on setting up some exterior/city shots to render over next week since I will be on vacation and I plan on unplugging for several days. I have one scene set up done, including test renders. The second shot will be less in terms of render time and I am hoping to finalize things tomorrow night. That leaves Tuesday and Wednesday and some car time to get the third and final exterior shot I want done to get prepped for render.

I am pretty excited to set up the third scene for rendering. Once I get the exterior shots rendered out I should be able to composite them when I get back and get them sent off for sound. I was also able to prep the next batch of fight scenes for when I get back as well.

Other than that I have wrapped up my javascript lessons for coding and looking to put my developing skills to the test over the summer. Since I have wrapped those lessons up, I have decided to dig more into 3D modeling over the summer as my new subject of learning.

Growing as an Artist

A post of this variety is probably long overdue considering everything and how long the blog has been going, but it is one of my favorite topics to discuss. I am referring to artistic growth. You see it in many artists, especially if you track their early works and it is not limited to just visual artists, musicians grow and evolve too (Somewhere, someone is making a Nickelback joke at that sentence).

The reason I bring this up, is because I was recently working on a shot in which I prepped files differently than I would have if I was going to create those assets/drawings today. The shot below, features both Zeth and Fenix in battle.

Zeth and Fenix fist duel

At the time of creating that shot, I figured I would have both characters animate in, impact would happen and then move onto the next shot. However, over the time from when I first thought of the shot and now, my talents have increased and that aesthetic no longer was enough for the shot.

Now some of you may be thinking, “Well why not go and redo it and stop being lazy?!” It’s not as easy as that, even if I wanted it to be. An old co-worker of mine once told me “You never finish a project, they get taken away”. Whether a client has a tight deadline or we simply have too much work, projects get taken away all the time and sometimes we need to take them away from ourselves.

While I could go and redo the shot and get the character set up the way I want to, if I started revising shots now, by the time I finished them, the shots I deemed acceptable from the start may be unacceptable now. Not only is it the growth of an artist, it is also technological as well. In terms of animation maybe a new plug in came out to create better water or something along those lines. Sometimes we need to accept that we can’t have perfection in every shot.

I somewhat carry the motto around that the work I produce today was the best work my talents could let me make today. Of course over time I will learn more and have more experiences that will change things, but in todays moment I created the best I could.

This particular shot was started some time ago and I now need to do the best with what I have. I have this mentality because as much as I am a perfectionist, I exist to create stories for people to read, watch and enjoy. If I get too caught up in making something perfect, I will severely limit the amount of things I can create by continually revising existing work, because no one (including myself) would take it away from me.

While this entry is meant to be reflective, it is also part motivational in case you need it. I am not worried about trolls coming along and telling me how much my work sucks. My simple response is, if my work sucks, then go make something that is better than mine.

Production Update 94

It’s good to be back blogging. I took some time off over Memorial day and unplugged for a bit and enjoyed the nice weather. Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on a variety of things. As of today I finished up my javascript lessons on the coding front, which was something that I wanted to do since the start of the year. I am really looking forward to dabbling more into it and seeing what kinds of things I can work on and create.

iBooks Author was another program I was working in. I started piecing together the story and getting it ready for AnimeFargo later this fall. I also felt it was important to get into a useable format to show other people to get some feedback on it as well. I stumbled across a few quirks to the program that I thought were a little bizarre but found a way around them. Most notably, the inability to rearrange pages once you create them or the inability to add a page between two already existing pages. I had success with being able to move around sections, so that allows me the flexibility that I need now.

Currently, I have all of the scenes sent in for audio and since I am going on a mini vacation later this month, I decided that I would spend the next 10 days or so working on some shots that require 3D renders. The plan behind this, is that I can let everything render while I do a bit of hiking. I am closing in on finishing up the first of three shots I want to have done.

Finally, I also started working on my artwork that I will be displaying at AnimeFargo in the artist alley. There are several pieces I have planned out and began some preliminary work on them. Speaking of AnimeFargo, I am also awaiting news if my panels will be approved as well.

On a random side note, I also got my garden planted and was awarded a little sunburn as a battle scar. It has been a very exciting summer so far and looking forward to sharing more with you!