Production Update 144: Scene Wrapped Up Again

I wrapped up the shot I was working on this week! Here is a piece of production art below!

22_Zeth_Leaping_DodgeReally been hitting a groove lately on these scenes, I feel like I have a solid process going. Recently I have been doing test background renders and creating an animatic for the scene. After that I set up beauty renders for the backgrounds. Followed by adding in the crowds and completing the final animation and compositing. I really do need to start doing behind-the-scenes videos on these. I really will try to do this!

Anyways, this scene will get sent along for audio production this week. Outside of finishing up this scene, I worked on a bit of freelance work again and also wrapped up my first week back in school.

So whats on the agenda for this week? Well, I would like to get to recording some behind the scenes content and get it put in Youtube. I think the first batch of content will be a series of videos on how a shot takes form from concept to final. Just give me a little time get things situated with the new laptop and recording.

I will also be working on the next scene! The next scene has 4 shots in it. The following scene after that is just a single shot so I will probably lump the 2 together and work to get everything prepped this week so I can work on animation next week.

Anime Review: Ping Pong


Admittedly, this is the first sports anime I have checked out even though I am actually a sports fan. I recall watching anime in college and wondering if they ever made sports anime only to get replies on message boards that sports and anime don’t really mix. So the somewhat recent boom in sports anime has been a bit surprising.

Around the time Ping Pong came out, there was a behind the scenes clip online of how they got some of the animation to look the way it did. Check it out below.

The Interface/program they are using is Flash, the same program I used in college for traditional animation. While at Anime Detour earlier this year, I checked out a panel on the works of Masaaki Yuasa. After seeing a range of works in his style, I decided I needed to check out Ping Pong.

I was kinda skeptical at first. Mostly because I never checked out sports anime but I also was concerned if I would get tired of the art style or if it would lose impact over the course of the series (11 episodes). Not to mention, I also didn’t know much at all about Ping Pong.

After the first episode I noticed something interesting in the credits. They had a team just for advising on Ping Pong. This isn’t uncommon, but I was pleasantly surprised. It really paid dividends for the series and making it realistic from a game standpoint.

Ping Pong follows a small group of characters, all from various regions and different playing styles. The series starts with a tournament, the middle portion is the summer/start of a new school year and wraps up with another tournament, with all of our characters a year older.

So should you check out Ping Pong? YES! I initially intended to marathon Ping Pong in an afternoon but I didn’t, instead doing about 4 sessions of 2 or 3 episodes. I wish I had marathoned it. I found myself eagerly waiting for the next viewing session to see what happened next.

The characters are very unique and I am pretty certain there is a character for you to get behind and pull for. In my case I had two favorite characters, Peco and Kong.

Artistically speaking, the artwork didn’t get old as the series went on, I never felt like it was a novelty that had overstayed it’s use. The extreme movements in sports anime lends itself to this art style and I thought the team used this style extremely well. It really shows off in the matches.

From a story perspective and even character development, I don’t really have much to critic. I actually wish there was another episode or two to develop the characters outside of Ping Pong a bit more but it wasn’t needed. I especially enjoyed the series and how it progressed after the initial tournament.

The final episode was really special. Not every anime pulls off the final episode and I felt Ping Pong did an amazing job. Anytime I can walk away from a series with a smile (no pun intended) on my face, I can’t complain.

I highly suggest checking out Ping Pong, I know it is a series I will go back and watch again soon. Ping Pong is available from FUNimation.

You can also read more about Ping Pong on CartoonBrew.


Production Update 143: Cruising Along

Production Update time, let’s roll! Had another great week of getting things done. I worked a bit on some freelance projects and also helping out SALM, the local anime club, with their website. It’s looking good and really can’t wait until we have it done.

I also have some exciting news! I ordered (and received) a new laptop. So what right? Well, my old laptop was 6 years old and maxed out on upgrades. The new one is already maxed out upon ordering. I wasn’t really planning on a new laptop this year, but with the refresh to the Macbook Pro’s and going back to school, it seemed like a good time to do so.

For Cosmic Rage, I was able to get all of the final background renders done and also built all of the crowds. So everything is prepped to animate. I actually got three shots done this week so far. Even though I start school today, I am really going to push to get this scene wrapped up by the next production update and even share some production art again.

I feel like over the last couple months I have hit a good routine with setting up shots and working on them in a threes step process.

Over the last month or so I have also been reading Unnatural Talent by Jason Brubaker. Even though it pertains mostly to digital comics, there have been several nuggets that I feel I can bring from his experiences to Cosmic Rage. Looking forward to trying out some of the things in the book and also some new things in general that I have been mulling over.

Thanks for checking out the blog again, another anime review is up for later this week, Ping Pong!

Con Announcement: AnimeFargo

Con Announcement this week, I am heading back to AnimeFargo this year. I am really excited to see the growth of this con, now having it’s second event and meeting some of the people I met at the convention last year.

I am also happy to announce that I will be presenting two panels this year.

Friday, September 18th
Artist Open Forum 9pm-9:45pm

Saturday, September 19th
History of CGI in Anime 4-4:45pm

Artist Alley is still up in the air, I will notify you once I hear back on that front!

Production Update 142: A New Scene Begins

I started on a new scene this week, it’s composed of 9 shots. I really had a solid week working on Cosmic Rage. I got all of the test backgrounds rendered out and added in. When I talk about test rendering the backgrounds, I render them out of the 3D program I use, Cinema 4D, just to get the size and the animation correct. I knock the render settings way down so things render faster and I can get the movement I need as soon as possible. Once I am happy with it, I can render things out with the settings higher.

I am ready to start building crowds this week since I am working on another fight scene. My goal is to get all of the crowds built into these scenes by the end of the week. You’ll find out if I hit my mark in the next production update.

Over the weekend, I helped out on a live mural at a local river festival. I had to leave before we finished, but you can check out some of the pictures on their Facebook page, Exposure Gallery.

On Sunday, I helped SALM, the local anime club with their mini one day con Dargon Con. I gave my panel on the history of CGI in anime and met up with some of my out of town friends. I even had the chance to meet some new voice actors and tell them about the project and the open auditions.

Also received word that my panels for Anime Fargo have been accepted. I will get more information posted up in the near future about them.

Even had time to get some freelance work in too.

Looking forward to another productive and awesome week!

Dragonball Z Resurrection of F Review

The time has come for me to review Dragonball Z Resurrection of F. It’s no secret that I am a huge Dragonball Z fan, it is one of the first series I watched and one of the biggest influences into me deciding I wanted to be an animator.

I am going to review Resurrection of F as a Dragonball Z fan so SPOILER ALERT, there will be SPOILERS below. Check out the trailer below.


Quick rundown of the story, a henchman from Frieza’s army organizes a small army to find the dragon balls on Earth and bring Frieza back to life. Piccolo and Gohan realize someone has summoned Shenron but are unsure of what is going on. Frieza and the troops who resurrected him head into space to train to get revenge. At this point we find out a startling revelation, Frieza has never trained a day in his life. They also spend time gathering troops to come back and try to destroy the Earth and get their revenge on Goku and company.

Frieza was never really my favorite villain, I was more a Cell guy. Although the battle between Frieza and Goku was too good to pass up for seeing in theaters. The animation for the film was great. Some of the impact frames that you only see for a split second are amazing. Large bloodshot eyes, fantastic effects, just such great accents and details were spent on those impact frames that made the fights more intense.

Overall I really enjoyed Resurrection of F… Except for 2 points, here we go.

I am going to sound like a Vegeta fanboy, but hear me out. Towards the end of the film Goku let’s his guard down and gets taken down, opening the door for Vegeta to kill Frieza.  Vegeta steps in and takes Frieza down with a series of attacks. Before Vegeta can finish Frieza, Frieza destroys the Earth. Whis, then reverses time backwards to right before the moment when Frieza destroys the Earth. This allows Goku to destroy Frieza before he can blow up the Earth.

My problem with this, is it felt like a bad cop out. If Frieza was just going to destroy the Earth, why not do it at the start of the film or after he brought his army to the planet or when he couldn’t beat Goku? I wasn’t super harsh on this part of the movie. The reason was because they mentioned Whis’ time reversal power earlier in the film, so as an audience we were set up for this result.

Quick side note, I really expected more from Jaco. His character brought nothing to the movie other than a couple chuckles that Saiyaman could have achieved.

The main thing that had me disappointed was the timeframe in which Frieza returned to Earth. So after Frieza was revived, they left Earth so Frieza could train to beat Goku. We find out in the film that Frieza was only away for 6 months to train before returning. 6 months.

Now you can say that Frieza didn’t know any better or that his ego was in the way. The reason I don’t buy tho argument is that Frieza witnessed Goku’s battle with Buu from hell. We also find out that Frieza held Buu and Beerus in the same tier as fighters. So clearly 6 months was not going to be enough to destroy Goku, which brings me back to my main point, why not just destroy Earth right away.

Overall I really did enjoy the movie, I felt the animation was great, and the fight scenes were exactly what I wanted to see. The fight at the end of the Battle of Gods left me wanting more. My critique of the film was I feel that they used Frieza’s ego as too much of a crutch from a storytelling perspective. Will for sure be buying the film when it is released.

Production Update 141: That’s a Wrap

Apologies for the late update this week, was really focused on the last scene I was working on. With that said, the shot is wrapped up and has been sent off for audio. There are some fine tunes I need to go in and do, but that type of stuff is better done after a day or two away from the project. Here is a shot from the scene that just wrapped up!



Looking at starting a new scene this week. This one is composed of 9 shots and I am hoping to get this scene done by the end of the month. I feel like the last couple scenes I have found a good workflow.

On the freelance front, wrapped up one project. I have some web work to do for the local anime club and continued work on another freelance project. Can’t wait to share a couple of these when they are done.

Coming up next, my review of Dragonball Z Resurrection of F.

Behind the Scenes 2: Shaping Cosmic Rage

Last time, I shared with you about how the idea of Cosmic Rage came about. Now, I have lived in the midwest almost all of my life. Living in cities no bigger than 150,000 so when I moved to Minneapolis shortly after college, I was kinda surprised. I mean I never imagined myself living in a larger city to be honest. Probably because it was something I never gave thought to. I was always cared more about what I was doing for work than where I was living.

Cosmic Rage was something I started in high school, but shelved for a while as I was searching for my next move after college. It was about 6 months into my job in Minneapolis and I became friends with one of my co-workers. One day we decided we wanted to collaborate on a project. Cosmic Rage was that project.

In the early days of the project, we wanted a motion comic aspect to the game we wanted to work on. Over a year or so, life took us both different ways and our priorities changed. He took a larger role for work and has made some amazing work at his job and undoubtedly mentored a lot of people so far too. As for me, I decided to keep the motion comic going in my spare time.

So why was a motion comic something I wanted to make versus other methods of storytelling? I have always been visual person, so I knew artwork needed to be made. I tried a couple variations of comic and manga style but I wanted the viewers to have the full experience, moving pieces, audio, and color. I didn’t have a way around this all though. I spent some time researching motion comics and found some interesting ones, but they all were basically still comic books, just with faded in type and subtle effects. I wanted to take Cosmic Rage further than that.

One night in Minneapolis I was channel surfing and stumbled across Archer. I was intrigued by the artwork, the characters looked like rigged illustrations but the backgrounds looked painted, yet 3D. I took to the internet after watching the show and found a blog on how Archer was made. This video got my wheels started on how to make Cosmic Rage.

A few render tests later, I was convinced this could work out for Cosmic Rage.


Production Update 140: R & R

I just got home from a weekend away from home and the computer. It was a nice break. I spent the weekend in Minneapolis, checking out the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a concert (Rise Against) and visiting some friends in the area. It was nice to have some time to absorb different types of art and to have some mental time away from Cosmic Rage.

I spent the majority of the weekdays working on the various freelance projects I have going on. I wrapped up a flyer for a local convention and look forward to presenting in 2 weeks at the con. I have also been working on getting into another con in September. I should be wrapping up a freelance project this week and also getting to see Dragonball Z Resurrection of F in theaters.

More updates coming this week!