Monday, August 30, 2010

Back From Hiatus!

After a thoroughly enjoyable vacation in Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and San Francisco, I'm back home and ready to bust a move on "Adult Toy Story."

But first, I need to get my body back on Eastern Standard Time! (One thing at a time, folks!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My New Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet

As I'm learning SBP, it's becoming increasingly clear that I will be switching from my old animation method—drawing on paper; scan the drawings; place into program—and will FINALLY transition to the new method of drawing directly into the program with a stylus and tablet.

Now, I already own a tablet. A few years ago I bought a Wacom Intuos 2 9x12 tablet from eBay. I've used it sparingly for a few reasons: one, there was a slight lag between my hand and the result on the screen; I hadn't properly installed the software (!) so the pressure sensitivity and other functions weren't working correctly; and it's so big that it was impossible to be portable and a bit cumbersome in my limited workspace.

I was thinking about all of these issues as I was going through the drawing section of the SBP manual. Then I suddenly remembered that Wacom has small, inexpensive models of tablets. I didn't have to get their best (the Cintiqu 21UX for $1999). I learned from the Intuos that I don't need a huge drawing space on the tablet since it works relative to the computer screen.

I did some quick research and discovered that the Bamboo Pen is $69.95 and available at Apple stores. And that's exactly where I was this morning, 15 minutes after they opened, at the Apple store on 67th and Broadway (the closest one to me.) I picked it up and was back home soon, happily installing not only the driver but also Corel Painter Elements. I know it's not the full version of Painter (of which I have 18 days left on my trial version) but it's better than no version of Painter. And it, along with the trial version, will assist me in deciding whether or not I should invest in that program.

My immediate reaction to the Bamboo Pen—it's AWESOME! I was so accustomed to the poor response with the Intuos 2 that I assumed that was how all tablets and styli worked. I feel like I've entered the modern era! The performance of this tablet is wonderful. I've been testing it in SBP with the textured brushes and feel almost like I'm drawing on paper. I look forward to doing even more with it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Impression of Storyboard Pro 2—NICE!

I've spent a few days doing the animatic for "Adult Toy Story" (ATS) in the new version of Storyboard Pro. Although I haven't gotten deep into it, I can confidently say that the first major improvement I've worked with is NICE!

Storyboard Pro 1/1.5's manual had SIX pages related to camera moves. And the current version's manual has how many camera move pages? TWENTY! A three-fold-plus increase which mirrors the increase in options.

Right now, I'm planning a zoom out and a pan. I want the pan to go around a corner and up the side of a building to a window. With the old version of SBP, it would've been a very linear and lifeless camera move. But with this new version, I can adjust the trajectory, continuity, tension and bias of the camera's path. Don't ask me what all those things mean! All I know is that they give me additional control and that's all that matters.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Frustration With iPhone 3G Running iOS4 Video Parody

This parody video accurately shows the experience I, too, had when I upgraded my iPhone 3G to the iOS4 firmware. Soon after my disastrous upgrade, I read that Apple planned for an iPhone 5 around Jan. 2011. So I said, "OK, I'll suffer through the severe decrease in performance until then."

Then reality hit me like a sack of s*$t!!.

Since I'm not a particularly patient person to begin with, I couldn't ignore the billboard-sized fact that my phone was now just TOO DAMN SLOW!! Like this video shows, just opening one app meant many seconds of no response! I couldn't take it anymore so I researched downgrading to OS3.1.3 and dedicated a whole weekend to the project.

Sacrificing that weekend was worth it.

I'm now back to the phone's original speed. Yes, one or two of my app upgrades aren't useable on my phone but I can live with that much more than with ridiculous slowness.

I'm a fan of Apple's products but their obsolescence-every-6-months approach is their biggest problem. And it's an expensive problem for those of us who can't afford the latest and greatest gadget or software on that short of a schedule.

It's also clear to me that once an iPhone 5 comes out, that my 3G will be three generations behind so a new phone will be a must.

Guess I know where my 2010 tax refund is going!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fear of Failure, Hollywood Style

If you're interested in filmmaking, storytelling and the current pathetic state of ideas coming out of Hollywood, then the video below is for you! I honestly laughed out loud on this one.

It's an anonymous animation made via xtranormal—the site where you literally type in text, click on a few options and create an instant animation. I recommend giving it a try. It's a lot of fun and can even give you a sense of how well your ideas work before you dedicate too much time to them.

The video—posted by screenwriter John August—mocks the fear of new, untested ideas in Hollywood. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Return to Creatin'

After a wee bit of frustration, I finally passed the first big hurdle in my return to working on the animatic. I decided this time to copy Bill Plympton and make my film in the 16:9 aspect ratio instead of my usual 4:3. Here's some visuals so you know what I'm talking about (and please excuse the "dummies" part, I borrowed this image from this site):

In other words, I'm designing this for the type of t.v. most people own…except for me! I'm guessing that most folks have some sort of a widescreen t.v. I, on the other hand, am quite content with my old skool CRT t.v. Why? Because I'm too busy CREATING to be CONSUMING! And when you're consumed with creating, there's no time to watch every freakin' stupid show on television! I make an occasional exception for streaming episodes of "Fastlane" from Netflix while I'm eating ( we all have guilty pleasures!) and an occasional movie on the weekend…BUT THAT'S IT!!! "Adult Toy Story" MUST get done within the next 6 months so I can work on the next film and the next film and the next.

Back to using Storyboard Pro: when I selected "HDTV" as my new file format and imported storyboard images that I had sized properly—I thought—the images were too big for the allotted area. I couldn't figure out why this was happening. It's annoying and time-consuming to fix it manually; when I import my drawings, they should automatically fit the frame size. Finally, I selected another option for my file, "HDTV_vertical." I assumed that I didn't want anything vertical but tried it anyway and SURPRISE! It worked! I'll have to dig deeper and learn exactly what the issue was. This issue might be a good entry for my storyboarding ebook.

Although it will chew up time, I'm considering starting with a rough animatic, then creating a more "presentable" one. Since I was away from this program for about 3 months, I've almost completely forgotten how to use it. I feel that I'm making more progress if I do a down 'n dirty animatic that doesn't look great but gives me an idea of what the final will look like. Once that's done, I can pretty it up with tighter and better drawings, tone, etc. I'm not sure if this is the best approach but I'll learn soon.

Today I completed a rough version of the opening titles. My goal is to show you either the animatic or stills of the opening pan from the titles to Honey's apartment bedroom tomorrow.

Now if I could only figure out a way to balance creating with exercising and housecleaning, I'd be a happy girl!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Toon Boom's Storyboard Pro 2 Has Arrived!

I'm soooo excited that I have now officially installed Storyboard Pro 2. And it's dongle-free! Woo hoo!

I'm going to take some time to go through the introductory tutorials so I can be sure I know the basics before I begin the latest animatic for "Adult Toy Story" (ATS). I already have the first few panels drawn and ready to be scanned and imported into SBP. I was actually prepared to do that tonight until I realized that I should learn a bit about this program before trying to use it. That may be one of the mistakes I used the last time with SBP: I thought I could just learn as I go but it's definitely helpful to learn some basics before getting started.

Let's get started!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Aliens, Courtesy of Kirby

John K. has a post today about Jack Kirby's alien designs. K's not sure if the designs are supposed to be serious or funny since they are a lot more funny than scary. But I had to re-post one of my favorites below. African features (the broad noses) and yellow skin. A Sino-Afro alien?!?! I love it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poo-pooing the Idea of "Talent"

I often hear people say that they can't draw "a straight line." Actually, most artists can't draw a straight line unless they use a ruler! The reason people say that is because we've all been conditioned to think that unless we're "born with talent," that we can't do certain things.

Clearly, there are a few exceptions especially in regard to athletics. Yes, if you're a 5'7" man, you'll probably not make it as a professional basketball or football player (although I do remember that Spud guy basketball player who was like, 5'3", or something like that!) But for the most part, this is a myth that we all should eradicate from our brains.

Here's an old article that deals well with the subject fro 2006:

As the article says, practice makes perfect in ANYTHING we wish to accomplish!

So…back to work!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NEW free ebook coming soon!

Looks like Toon Boom Animation has upgraded their Storyboard Pro software. I've already upgraded my Animate Pro so I might as well do the same for SBP. I'm excited about the new features and am especially excited about returning my dongle to them! That's right, if you have the version of SBP that required a dongle, it must be returned (along, preferably, with the activation code which, of course, I've lost!) before the new version can be activated. Good riddance to the damn dongle, I say! No more will I have to carry it around in my purse to make sure it was available for both my home desktop and my laptop.

This means I'll have to write the next ebook to discuss this latest version of SBP that will, hopefully, correct the various small annoyances of the previous versions of the software.

So keep a lookout for the next free ebook! I'll keep you posted on its status.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Last Sunday's Art Post—Honey & Luthor face designs

I wrote this post TWO SUNDAYS AGO but by the time I was ready to upload, it was time to meditate and get to bed.

So here they are!

I finally got to a point where I'm satisfied with both characters. It's possible that the designs will change as I work on the storyboard but at least I have something that makes me happy to work with for now.

I think that these are superior to what I posted on April 2 & 3:

For Wednesday: more drawings of Honey and Luthor and some storyboard panesl.