Production Update 196: Animation Test 3

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday break! My holiday break was much needed. It offered me a nice chance to unplug for a bit and get away from the computer. I spent some time over the break doing some reading and playing some new board and card games which I always enjoy. After several attempts, my family and I were able to complete Oregon Trail and we even got in a good game of Walking Dead Risk, which saw so many zombies take over that we had to use colored trucks that come with the game to make up all of the zombies because we ran out of game pieces.

I scored some goodies for Christmas, some new anime and manga. On the anime front I got some new movies and series like Death Parade, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Coppellion. I got two more volumes of Bakuman, which I need to complete the series. I have a few more volumes I need to get as well. I even got the Archer art book too, which offers a lot of information on the history and process of the show. But enough about the holidays, let’s dive into the first production update of 2017!

I wrapped up my final animation test this past week. I spent some time experimenting around with a new plug in for After Effects called Paint and Stick. It offers the artist the ability to draw frame by frame within After Effects. I loved the idea of that, since I work with the program daily but I didn’t like the brush set within it. On the surface, it doesn’t appear that  have full control over the brush like I would have with Photoshop. I can do a lot of the other things in Paint and Stick as I can do within Photoshop, such as creating various layers, coloring and more. However, part of my hesitation to fully commit to Paint and Stick, is the unknown of future updates and workflows. So with this in mind, I am going to do my in depth animation tests using the Anim Dessn extension for Photoshop. I will post these up when I get them done. I am going to start tonight on my first test, and working with some lip syncing tools to get more mouth movements for the characters.

On a similar note, as much as I love my Wacom Intros tablet, it was time for me to upgrade. I ordered up a Cintiq this past week so I have more control over my drawings in the second episode and also for frame-by-frame drawing. I am very excited to get started with this new tool. I will use this on one of the other animation tests I will be working on in January.

Finally, I also have been doing a bit of reading this past week too. I recently ordered a book called Independent Animation by Ben Mitchell. It covers a wide range of elements in independent animation, ranging from music videos, collaboration, funding and more. I am about 25% done with the book. I have really been enjoying it so far and it’s quite nice to hear another perspective on the independent animation scene. I will be offering up a full review once I get it completely read.

Thank you for your continued support!

Production Update 195: Animation Test Part 2

Another week, another animation test. I love testing out new workflows and seeing if there are areas that I can improve and make more efficient. I’m really excited to test out the potential winning workflow and give it a more in depth look. Last week I explored Adobe Animate or the equivalent of Flash.

This week I dove into Adobe Photoshop to do some testing. There is a tool available online called AnimDessin, which gives the artist more of a traditional timeline and tools set, similar to Flash/Animate. Things such as onion skinning, inserting blank frames with the click of a button and more. The appeal of this workflow versus last weeks is the fact that I can use a variety of brushes to help get a more traditional look, some nice line qualities and importing these files into After Effects is going to be much easier. So far I am leaning towards this workflow but I still have one more to test out.

The remaining workflow is a unique one, using a tool called Paint and Stick in After Effects.  This tool let’s you draw frame by frame right in After Effects. My initial concerns center around brushes and file sizes. On the plus side, if I have any issues, I can hopefully resolve them right in After Effects.

It was a pretty good weekend to do some animation tests, we had some very frigid weather and snow that needed to be removed when things warmed up ever-so slightly. I went to see an animated documentary called Tower, which I am going to be reviewing this week yet before the holidays. Check out the trailer below, and come back mid-week for a review of the film!

Production Update 194: Animation Tests

I spent most of last week getting caught up on some work and other random things that have been piling up. So my plan this week is to execute some animation tests and explore a couple different workflows. The purpose of these types of tests is not only determine the best software to use but also the most efficient way to layer artwork, composite and the overall look and mood of each scene. In terms of animation, I will still use the same aesthetic or look as the first episode, characters done in 2D and the environments will be done in 3D. However, I want to push the character animation farther and that requires a bit of planning ahead so I don’t come across any limitations in production.

I will release some videos for each of the workflow tests I have been doing as well. Hopefully by sharing these I can shed some insight into other to the animation process for other animators but also if I am overlooking something, then someone can also help me out.

The first animation test I did was a combination between Adobe Animate (used to be Flash) and After Effects. I used to use Flash when I was in college so I have some familiarity with it. Some of my initial thoughts are, while I enjoy the timeline and being able to see the keyframes, I am not entirely sold on the brush or pencil tool in that program. That might be the deciding factor, but we’ll see. Like I said before, I will do a video soon about my exploration.

The next workflow I am going to explore is going to be a new plug in for After Effects, called Paint and Stick. This allows for frame by frame animation inside of After Effects with a visible timeline for each frame. My initial thought is that it also supports brushes from photoshop, so I can have more of that hand drawn feeling as opposed to the clean vector look of Animate. My concern however, with this workflow, is that file size could get out of control. All of the Paint and Stick data is saved outside of After Effects. If my initial testing looks like this is going to be the route to go, I will do a little bit more of an in depth animation test to see if I can gauge how large files could get.

Production Update 193: Con-Season Recap and the Future

The 2016 con season has reached it’s conclusion for Cosmic Rage. It has been a successful year debuting Cosmic Rage at a variety of conventions. I’ll recap the convention season and discuss what the future holds for Cosmic Rage as well as planning for Episode 2.

Production Update 192: Back from Anime NebrasKon

This week’s production update is going to be a little quick, I have some catching up to do on things on other fronts. First off, Nebraskon was a great time. It was my second year at the convention and it was fantastic, I got to see lots of friends and made some new ones in the process. It was their first year in a new venue and I had a great experience.

My panels went well. The first one was a screening of Cosmic Rage, where I got to screen my work and also engaged in a great Q/A session with the people in attendance. I raffled away a copy of Cosmic Rage on DVD too. Really good stuff.

MY second panel was a new one, covering getting into animation. It was a little rough in terms of content since it was my first time with the panel. I am looking forward to smoothing it out for next year, cutting out some content and bringing some new content into it. The panel was packed so it is definitely going to stay in the rotation of panels.

I have some big changes coming up that I would like to share with you all later this week or in next week’s production update. I look forward to sharing them with you and diving into episode 2!

Production 191: Destination Nebraskon!

Happy Halloween everyone!

This past week I have been working on spreading the word about my new e-book Cosmic Rage, which can be downloaded in the iBooks store. This week I don’t have much planned for Cosmic Rage, I want to get caught up on a few things before I travel to Anime Nebraskon! I am putting together an all new panel for the con, one designed for people looking to get into animation. I am very excited to get this put together this week in presentation form.

That isn’t the only event I have at Nebraskon either. I will be screening Cosmic Rage once again and opening up a Q/A session afterwards in which people can ask about the process, the project and whatever else they want. This is my last convention of the season.

I will be recording a video when I get back to share some new things that are going to be going on with Cosmic Rage as things start to prep for a second episode. I am very excited what the future holds for the project and sharing it all with you!

As always, thank you for your support. it is greatly appreciated!

Production Update 190: Ebook is Available!

Cosmic Rage is now live in the iBooks Store! It’s been quite the adventure. When I started Cosmic Rage my life was so much more different than it is now. I was still pretty green in my animation career and living in Minneapolis at the time. Things have changed so much and it is crazy to think of how far everything has come since the project started off.

So where do things go from here is the next big question. I will have some more on this coming in the very near future, specifically after my final convention of the season, Nebraskon. In two weeks I will have the last screening of Cosmic Rage on the convention circuit for 2016.

Don’t forget to check out Cosmic Rage in the iBooks store and share with your friends!

Production Update 189: E-book Complete!

It feels good to get back into the swing of things. Things post-move are going pretty well. This past weekend was very nice outside so I was able to get outside and get some yard work done before things get too out of control with the weather starting to cool down. My desk is slowly starting to come together as you can see with the picture here. I am very excited to get the final boxes put away and really start to get some work done in my office area 🙂

desk_wip

My final editing revisions came in and have been made. This week I need to get the e-book submitted to the e-book store and that will put the finishing touches on the first episode of Cosmic Rage, allowing me to get back into the swing of fleshing out the second episode.

This week my to-do’s are getting the e-book into the store. I also want to get my desk fully functional and get things put away. I do have some freelance work I need to get some time in on as well. Finally, I will be back at Nebraskon this year and I am doing a new panel that I need to get into slides. It’ll be a busy week ahead, but that keeps life interesting. Let’s do this!

Production Update 188: Where is my E-book?

The last month has been a hectic whirlwind. Packing for the move has been in full force, it never ceases to amaze me at how much “stuff” I have until it comes time to move. Everything fits into the apartment but when it comes time to putting it in boxes, boy it feels like an endless endeavor. I love packing up my movies and seeing all of the great ones that I need to have on when I get back into work shortly. Castle in the Sky anyone? I also plan on legitimately starting a “to watch” pile for the films and series that have made their way onto my shelves and haven’t gotten viewed yet, it feels like a crime. Ghost in the Shell Innocence? *Facepalm

I got my revisions made to my e-book and have them submitted to my editor for one final pass before publishing. This should be good to go into the store soon. Most of the edits have been making sure pages didn’t have a pixel bleed that was distracting and I also need to tweak a few pieces of art, which will be things I tackle tonight. Mostly subbing in new renders for ones I didn’t get to before as I was working on the episode and shelved the e-book for a bit.

Things will calm down this week a little bit more. I finished up one of my freelance projects and things are moving pretty well on the packing front. That will wrap up before I head on vacation to unplug for a bit. More stuff coming soon!

Production Update 187: Catch Up Week & Podcast Appearance

I had one simple goal this past week and that was to catch up on the many fronts of things I had to get done to free up some time to get back into Cosmic Rage. So how did I do?

Well, things are definitely moving forward. I started doing a bit of packing this week for my move in about 3 weeks, which one of those weeks is going to get lost due to vacation. I was able to get some file sent on my freelance projects as I am making some headway on those and getting close to get them into more of the final tweak steps. Things are going well on these projects and they are looking pretty good. I am very excited to get them out into the real world for people to see 🙂

In the middle of all of the work this week, I did get a chance to appear on the local Sioux Empire Podcast to talk about Cosmic Rage, Colin Kaepernick, a tasteless 9-11 commercial, humanity and more. Things got pretty deep. It was a great time and I had a blast chatting with the crew of the podcast and hope to be back someday, you can check it out at The Sioux Empire Podcast.

I was able to get some back end things working too. There will be more updates on this soon, probably after the move. I am mulling over some revisions to my Patreon campaign and moving more towards Youtube with more video content and things along those lines.

This week, the goal is to get back on the e-book and get this revisions knocked out so I can get that submitted into the store.