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!

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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.

20_Duncan_Crouching

 

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.

 

The Otaku Diet & a Community Garden

This topic has been on my mind for a while now and it was something I wanted to take time to write about and discuss because it may relate to you or someone you know. To give this some context, I was thinking of a way I could actually do a panel about it before Anime Detour in Minneapolis. I checked out a panel at Anime Detour by Kyle Hebert and another presenter about diet and the otaku lifestyle. These two things are closely related, we go to cons and live for 2 or 3 days on Pocky and Ramune, then we do this several times over the course of a summer. Every season we are given a plethora of new shows to watch and when some of are done with those we will game or stream random things online or venture into forums and spend hours there. In my case I spend my time animating so I am sitting in most cases working.

Let’s backtrack a little first. About 2 years ago my mom needed a stent put in for a clogged artery by her heart, which is in part to diabetes. She developed diabetes during her first pregnancy with my sister and it came back. After that I started paying more attention to what I was eating and lost about 25 pounds. Part of my solution was my community garden I had. I was able to plant several types of vegetables, which in turn helped with what I consuming. That’s why I also blog a little about gardening, it is necessary for me to keep up with my diet, which I prefer to call a lifestyle change.

I prefer to call it a lifestyle change because with diets you reach a goal and then you stop and you gain your weight back, which is what happened to me. For that reason, I am writing this for myself and for others who may need inspiration.

What worked for me was tracking my calorie intake, but also the types of calories. I avoided things with high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and tried to eat more whole foods. With that routine it was a good way to operate because all you have to do is eat less than you burn (using about 2,000 calories for a male), and you will lose weight over the course of time. I thought I made the lifestyle change and stopped doing this process and as I slowly gained my weight back I thought I could gain control again but couldn’t. I learned from that mistake and it will not happen again.

All of this circles back to the community garden. Our city is fortunate enough to have the space for people to get gardens. The initial investment in fencing materials can be a little intimidating, but it is one thing I learned, is if you are unwilling to invest in yourself, no one will. The garden isn’t as easy as one may think. You can’t simply plant your plants and harvest it later. It requires work putting up the fence, weeding, and watering, but the work is worth it when you get to cook and enjoy all of the produce you grow. I have learned a lot about growing cycles, staggering plantings and canning. My favorite thing is learning how to maximize space by planting crops that have short growing seasons in between the plants that have longer cycles.

Every year I try to grow something I never grew before. Last year I grew a plant I can’t recall but it was a Japanese green. I learned how to make a few dishes that people used that plant for in Japan and how they cooked with it. The plant also grew insanely fast, we were cutting it constantly, which made it good to grow because we were able to get a lot for the space it occupied.

Here is to another year of urban gardening and working to get back down to weight.

 

Production Update 129: Scene Complete!

I was finally able to get that pesky scene done. It felt like I have been working on tat scene for a long time. Lots of things sprung up during production on that specific scene. The scene has been sent off to get audio work done. Here is actually a screenshot of the final shot from that scene.

19_Zeth_injury

I also spent some time this week with some revisions to the freelance project I was working on. Have one last minor edit to wrap up and then it should be good to go.

I also traveled and visited some family over the weekend. It was good to see them and things have been somewhat stabilizing with my grandpa and his condition.

One pleasant surprise this week, was the notification we got that we would be able to get into our garden almost month earlier than last year! So we spent part of Sunday putting up the fence and getting some early crops planted.

Given all of that, I am starting to prepare things for the next scene. Just to give you an idea of the next scene, it is composed of 5 shots. I am aiming to get a good chunk of it wrapped up for the next production update. I am anticipating that 3 of the shots will need 3D background renderings that will be more than one frame so part of the progress will be focused on how fast things render.

I also have a few minor edits and tweaks to make in anticipation for Akon 26 in Dallas, TX.

Looking Ahead 2015 and Learning

Earlier this week I mentioned that I have begun applying for panels at some cons in 2015 and that artist alleys may be in the works as well. However, I wanted to talk today about some goals and things I aim to get better at in 2015. One of my long-term goals is to get more into web development and coding. The reason for this is that some day I would like to do animations for web some day. With that in mind, I have enrolled in a 6 week online animation course to brush up on some of the fundamentals and really use it to push myself in those areas. I have been in the course for a week and a half so far. I can tell it is going to be a very well use of my time. These will all be good skills to have as I try to grow Cosmic Rage more in 2015. The other side of the same coin, I am looking to push myself in the 3D world as well in 2015. In this case too, I have been reviewing some course materials and am about half done with them. This too will carry into Cosmic Rage and also help feed my skills as I continue to work in the programs. Overall, a lot of continuing education in animation and some related areas. Animation really is a lifestyle 🙂

So what do I want to learn more about outside of animation and development? Well, I am aiming to get a second community garden and will plant some new vegetables. This year I am thinking of trying eggplant and maybe kale. I have so much more to learn in gardening.

Production Update coming Monday again!

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.

Chicago_Skyline_DEPTH_Cosmic_Rage

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 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!