Con Review: AnimeFargo 2015

I recently returned from AnimeFargo, an anime convention in Fargo, North Dakota. It was my second year there and their second running the convention. This year, I presented two panels along with setting up a table in Artist Alley, a similar set up to last year.

First off, AnimeFargo is a fun con to attend. The staff is very helpful, friendly and also very open to feedback. They tried some new things this year, including a new layout for the artist alley and vendor room which allowed them to have a few more tables. Some of my friends decided to go to the con too since I had a good time last year. The attendees are always super polite and fun to talk to. Pretty standard stuff in the midwest, but still nice to be immersed in such a fun group of people brought together by our fandoms.

The venue the con is easily accessible, being right off the interstate. There are also plenty of food options within walking distance and also a good restaurant/bar right in the hotel. The hotel has a good layout that allows for the vendors and artists to be in the same room, the cosplay competition has a large room with a stage and the party rooms are in the middle of the convention.

My panels went well, I had about 20 people show up for my History of CGI which is solid for a con that size. The Artist Open Forum is always a blast, talking with other artists and discussing the problems we might be going through on our individual projects. I have been fortunate enough in my career to have some really great teachers, so I try to give back to others as much as I can.

Spike Spencer was one of the guests at AnimeFargo, so I was able to get some of my Evangelion goodies signed, with his own artistic flare too 😉 I was able to attend one of his panels on Friday night and hear some of his crazy adventures. Those panels are always fun to attend. I even got some of my Evangelion gear signed!

The Artist Alley closed in time to check out the cosplay competition, so I got to watch my friends compete. They were part of a RWBY team that won the judges award in the mid tier class. I was super excited for them because I know how much work they have put into their skit and costumes.

The other artists in Artist Alley were all very talented. I wish I would have took time on Friday night to look at everyones artwork and talk to them instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to seeing them more at future AnimeFargos and also at other midwest cons.

Overall, AnimeFargo was a fantastic con. Everyone is so inviting, from the staff, to the party rooms, to the other attendees. I look forward to being back next year for the Kawaii Invasion.

Production Update 147: Shots, Shots, Shots

Back home from AnimeFargo, and it was a blast. I can already say that I am excited for next year! I will have more on AnimeFargo later this week in a recap.

Let’s dive into production update! I was able to wrap up the two short scenes that I mentioned in the last production update. These shots will need to get sent off for audio production this week. Here is a still frame from the recent shots that have been finished.


After completing these scenes, I was able to start working on framing up the next scene. The next scene is composed of 11 shots, so this one will take a little bit more time to wrap up. I have the backgrounds framed for these shots, so the next step is roughing out the timing of the shots and also rendering out the high resolution or beauty versions.

Unfortunately, I discovered I missed a couple scenes in terms of inking and coloring. So over the next week or so that will be my area of focus. To give you all some context, it looks like there are about 5 scenes left including the one I will begin production on.

I am going to get onto inking. Stay tuned for an AnimeFargo recap this week! Thanks for visiting!

Production Update 107

Back on schedule with a new production update for the week! I was able to get re-familiarized with the project files and make some edits to a couple shots, it seems like forever since I touched the files while I was prepping for AnimeFargo. After that I worked on a few other shots and made some good progress from my time at artist alley and this week.

On top of that, I also tweaked some artwork for the Cosmic Rage Youtube page, set up a Tumblr page, and also got my deviant art account up to date as well. I am aiming to do a better job at keeping all of these accounts current and posted as well as this blog here. I found a wider range of audiences while at AnimeFargo using different platforms, so I figured I would try to accommodate and see where the viewers are at.

Since it has been a while, I thought I would also share some production art for one of the shots I am working on as well.



I have already learned so much after working on episode one that I want to carry into episode two. I am really excited to get back into the project and with the weather starting to turn here, I would guess I am going to get a lot of time on it 😀 I only have one more week of gardening left before we have to pull everything out. Later this week, I have a new review up! One for a show that just finished streaming 😉


AnimeFargo Rewind!

I finally had a chance to sit down and recap AnimeFargo, their first year and also my first artist alley. First off, the con staff was pretty amazing. They were friendly and super helpful in getting me where I needed to be and working with me at my first artist alley and also during my 3 panels. I had a couple minor glitches in my presentations and the projector, but nothing that hindered my panels at all. I would suggest AnimeFargo to anyone who is on the fence about going next year.

Artist alley went well. I was able to get some great feedback on the Cosmic Rage project and I was able to show it off to many curious attendees. I had some character pin-ups and cards made that I sold to people as well. I feel like the project had a good reception with the fans and several people were curious when I was going to have more of it done. I have no concrete date yet, but I am aiming for the end of winter at this point. Clearly I will announce changes and updates as the season progresses. I hope to have more announcements in the near future regarding this.

My panels had a good reception. My favorite panel on the history of CGI in Anime was fun to present and look forward to tweaking it over the winter for next year. The storytelling Q/A panel was a lot of fun. I hope I was able to help some of the attendees find ways to tell their stories and inspire them as storytellers.

I met some new friends at AnimeFargo and look forward to hopefully making it back next year in some capacity. Again, I can not say enough good thins about the weekend, the staff and of course the attendees. They made my first artist alley appearance a memorable one.

Production Update 106

The final week before AnimeFargo is finally here, crunch time. This morning I dropped off my artist alley files to get printed, I am very excited to see them turn out after 2 rounds of test prints and final tweaks. I need to pick up a few other things for the table and then I am all set!

I have a few final edits to make to my presentations as well, something that I will easily get wrapped up this week. I have 3 panels for the event; History of CGI in Japanese Anime, a Q/A panel on storytelling and a presentation on anime as a storytelling medium. I am very excited to share these ideas with everyone and to help them in their projects as much as I can.

I also wrapped up my freelance project too. I am hoping after AnimeFargo I will be freed up to go all out on Cosmic Rage again. September has been an exciting month of preparations for my first artist alley and while I haven’t had a lot of work on Cosmic Rage to show for it, it isn’t without reason. AnimeFargo will be the debut of Cosmic Rage and for an important reason, testing the audience.

Right now, the plan for Cosmic Rage has been as a cross between e-book and animated hybrid. Seeing how the attendees of AnimeFargo react, it could alter the format of the project, which is why I didn’t work too far ahead this month, I was at a good stopping point that I felt was good to test and get feedback.

Check back next week for some exciting news and a con recap!

Production Update 105

I know, I know. There has been a lack of posts for over a week, and maybe you are wondering what I am up to. It’s been a busy period so let’s get this production update started off with some awesome news. First off, test prints are done. You may be asking “what is a test print”? A test print, is a single print of a project, in this case, it was my character pin-ups for AnimeFargo artist alley. The 4 character pin-ups each had its own test print. By doing this, I am able to see what areas are too light, too dark, or if there are any clipping areas or artwork errors in the pieces final form. Since colors on your computer screen are different from how it will look after print, the test print allows you to tweak your artwork.

I have all of the pin-ups revised, mostly solving the problem of them being printed a bit too dark for my liking. I will be dropping the files off at the printer again tomorrow night after work to get another test print in.

Last week I also took a couple days off to go to Minneapolis for a concert to see my favorite band Rise Against.


I love their music and their message. You should check out all of their albums since they are fantastic and powerful. If you don’t believe me, check out one of their music videos. As an artist, I find so much inspiration in their music and our common interest in societal, political and other issues.


While in Minneapolis, I also checked out the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. If you haven’t been there, it is a great museum that has a ton of artwork. As usual I checked out the Asian art section, but they also had a powerful exhibit on death and the art of death.

Back to work this week on freelance work and wrapping up some more things for AnimeFargo! Hope to see you there.

Recent Viewing: A-Li-Ce

I can’t recall if I mentioned that I recently bought some older anime or not, but I did. For the last several years I have been interested in the 3D animation scene in Japan, or lack thereof. A couple years ago, I presented some of the things I found and thought were interesting about it at the SGMS conference in Minneapolis (which is being held again at the end of September).

I thought it would be fun to expand on my presentation and dive a little deeper for AnimeFargo September 26-28th. The first thing I wanted to do was start digging into some of the early 3D titles to come out of Japan, which led me to the film A.Li.Ce.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a trailer to show you clips of the title, but here are a few links if you are curious. (IMDB) and (Anime News Network)

A.Li.Ce may be the first full 3D animated film to come out of Japan, which would have been around the time of Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc in the US.

Visually, the film looks like cutscenes from RPG games of the same period with some shots having aliasing issues (pixellation). I am not surprised about some of the visual quirks, it was a standard at the time for places not named Pixar.

The story of A.Li.Ce revolves around a girl named Alice and her travels in space and time. While traveling in space, she actually travels into the future and runs into Yuan, a young boy who fixes robots. The two embark on a journey that involves a ruler named Nero and a super computer.

The plot has some pretty big and sometimes awkward gaps. Which I felt was a little surprising considering the novelty of the 3D animation and the potential marketing tool of that alone, I would have expected a cleaner story. There is also a weird appearance change by one of the characters in the film, something you don’t see too often. I’m not talking about a hair cut or something small like that.

The film was dubbed by ArtsMagicDVD. I don’t mean to beat them up, but the dub for the film is really bad. I would like to think that if the dub was better, it would have made the film  a little more tolerable. As it stands, the film doesn’t have much for replay value. On a positive side note though, ArtsMagicDVD is the facility that released the other 2 full 3D features I intend on watching this month yet. The A.Li.Ce DVD also has some nice extras that I haven’t fully made my way completely through yet either. If your a fan of full 3D features, it’s worth checking out just for the fact it may be the first 3D feature to come out of Japan.

Production Update 104

I hope everyone had a great extended weekend! I enjoyed some time in the garden and visited some family to relax as a very busy month is just around the corner. I wrapped up the 4th and final pin up for my artist alley table at Anime Fargo at the end of September. I am aiming to get them dropped off at the printer for a test print this week. Just need to run the text on the posters by an editor/writing friend for some feedback before taking them in. I am very excited to see them in the final form 🙂 The purpose of running a test print/run is to make sure the colors all look good and there aren’t areas that are too dark or too light, etc.

While those are at the printer, I am going to be working on getting my presentations into Keynote, a program similar to Powerpoint. I have to do a few updates to one of the presentations and the other one needs an overhaul.

So what else needs to get done in September? Well, I also need to get back on my 3D tutorials, I have been slacking on that front this past couple weeks. I also did some preserving of some fruit since winter is around the corner and it really got me thinking about doing a presentation at some point at a con about dieting and nutrition. I am not an expert on the topic at all, but it is something I enjoy learning about and trying to eat and live a healthier lifestyle. Would maybe need to partner with someone on that topic. I also have animation group this week and we are talking about expressions. I enjoy learning about those and seeing ways that those can help in my workflow as well. I also have a few freelance projects coming in so I can get the Cosmic Rage balance built up again for future needs and maybe a vacation 😉

Production Update 103

Last week was a little bit of a whirlwind. I planned on putting in some late nights for an art competition, but decided to back out of it. I would have stretched my self very thin for a good chunk of time and after mulling it over a bit I decided against it. That was initially why I didn’t do the blog posts, I was going to commit that time to the project.

So with that time, what did I get accomplished? Well, I officially have 3 of my pin-ups ready to go for AnimeFargo in about a month. I have one left to complete and I intend on having that one wrapped up for next week.

I also have some exciting news, I will be hosting 3 panels at AnimeFargo! So I have done a little bit on getting some presentations ready. The run down of panels will be, a session for Q/A on storytelling and techniques. This will be predominantly an open forum for questions, answers and discussion, things to get you started or get you over the road blocks to get you started on your storytelling journey. The second panel will be on the various types and techniques of animation, just in case you want to use animation as a storytelling medium or see what types of animation is available for you to use or watch. The final panel is a look at the history of 3D CGI in Japanese anime. 3D has always been an intriguing topic in anime and the history of it has been an interesting journey to watch. The presentation will have some clips of titles and we will look at different ways CGI is used in anime.

To sum it up, you should check out AnimeFargo! As for next week, looking to wrap up the last pin-up, Jani, and work on my presentations too.

Busy Busy Week

As you can tell, I missed the production update at the start of the week. This past week has been a little on the crazy side, so I decided to just merge my usual two posts into one. From a production standpoint, I didn’t get much done at all, let me explain. It was a rough week from a medical standpoint, not me personally but I had a family member have to take a trip to the ER and a few of my close friends had family get sick, have operations and even one passing away. I talked to them as needed and tried to be there for what they needed. I haven’t had to cope with a family loss for a while and know it isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. I’d do anything for my close friends.

I had a quick turnaround project spring up that I needed to get done for a client and I had to my help my parents on a household project as well.

With all of those events going on, I was able to make the last half of Akuacon in my hometown of Watertown. The larger con, Sogencon, that was held in Sioux Falls, SD had it’s last year last fall, so the staff has been working on small one day cons to take the place of them and keep people interested. I didn’t know what to expect to start with, so I hung out in the gaming area watching tournaments. One of the con staffers made me feel really welcomed and I played in some tourneys and chatted with more of the staffers and gamers. I have been off the con seen for a while, outside of a couple last year, but the larger events with panels are easier to blend in if you are a solo act. The mini-con was a fun time and I met some new friends. I hope to work with them and help with the con scene in South Dakota and get a con back in East river South Dakota.

If you recall last week, I mentioned the business cards I ordered. Well, funny story, as it turns out the UPS guy decided to leave them on the doorstep and it rained. You can’t make this stuff up. So the majority of the cards were destroyed, stuck together after being soaked. I was able to save a few (as you can see below) and more are on order. Thankfully Vistaprint was nice enough to understand the situation and are replacing the order. No complaints about the customer service at all, in fact I think that is great service and I wanted to share.

I am aiming to get back on track this week and get these posters done for AnimeFargo! My goal is to get at least one more done this week, I may have another project to work on this weekend, but I have deadlines set for August. Should be a fun month and looking forward to sharing more!