Outside of Cosmic Rage

Hey everyone! It has been a while since I have blogged, but I have been super busy at work and also did some traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday. I wanted to sneak a production update in when I got back home on Monday, but it was late and I needed to catch up on some sleep 🙂

I thought I would take today to write about some of the work I have been doing outside of Cosmic Rage and how some of my learning in other areas is progressing. First off, I have ben continuing to dabble in html and css. It has been going pretty well. I am currently working on a test project and I am very fortunate to have a co-worker take time to explain things and go over my code. It has been a fun process so far and looking forward to learning more in 2015.

Another area I am looking to improve on is my 3D work. You can never know enough, and I am looking at expanding into more areas and increasing my efficiency in other areas. Currently I am going through a series of tutorials and seeing how other people work. I learn so much from watching others animate. Excited to wrap up the series, as I am currently one third of the way through them now.

Outside of the previously mentioned projects, I enrolled in a 6 week course for After Effects. While I consider myself very strong in After Effects, I have recently been revisiting some fundamentals and that is the focus of this course. Once you think you know everything, you don’t leave yourself open to to learning from others. As I stated above, I enjoy watching people work and seeing ways that others use the programs I use. I will be starting the course next week.

I have been trying to break things into 3 or 4 month chunks and doing sprints of learning new things. These will be my main areas of focus over the winter months since it will be too cold to garden 🙁 I will be setting up y current render tonight as well. I will be back Monday with a new production update and also some new art, you deserve it!

Production Update 83

It’s been a really busy week on this end, I had a design meet up this week where we played pictionary and broke in our local design center in the process. I put Cosmic Rage a little bit on the back burner this week so I could catch up on the many things that were starting to fill up my to-do list. Another factor in my decision was based on the current position I am at with Cosmic Rage; currently I am working on the handful of scenes before the first fight sequence and by having a clean to do list, I can keep focused on the fight sequence. I also wanted a clean slate because some of the projects on it were ones that I have had on there for a while and they simply just needed to get done.

I recently started looking for an audio person to do the sound effects on episode 1. I was able to send them the first scene to see what they came up with, while I haven’t seen a sample yet, I am very excited to see what they can do. The final product is really starting to take shape.

On that note, I dug into i-book author more this weekend and started putting together a sample e-book so I can see if it is going to work as a publishing platform. I dropped in a few scenes and text frames, which should give me a good idea of how the final piece would turn out. Initially I am a little concerned about the text frames blending together during dialogue sequences, so I may research other possible routes. I am a little bit of a noob when it comes to i-book author.

I also completed some more of my coding lessons since I have been on a little bit of a hiatus from it. I finished up the html/css section and launched a new (although still minimal) Cosmic Rage site. It gets the job done for now, and I can’t spend a ton of time working on a site that will change in the future with character profiles and episodes.

On the web front, I also decided to switch platforms of my other website that focuses on animation and other programs. The decision to do it wasn’t easy but it is something that I feel needs to be done. I am hoping to wrap up the change tomorrow night. I think it will be something better for me and the viewers.

Finally, one bigger piece of news (I like to save the best for last), with the launch of Robot Candidate earlier this month, we have started legwork on a new game. With time I will be able to tell you more about the game in the works, but it will be a pleasant surprise 🙂

Ending the Creative Drought and Exciting News; App Release

The last couple weeks I have been going through a bit of a creative drought (I am sure you could gather that from the lack of updates). Not sure if it was related to the move or if it was just a typical period of burn out, which is pretty common with any creative field. I didn’t work on things much outside of work and spent most of my time putting things in order after the move. For me personally, I tend to go all out for as long as I can, followed by a short window of time where I consume as much content as possible; videos, gaming or reading, etc.

I can happily say that the drought has ended. I spent some time this week setting up a render and getting some timing tests done. I finally got internet installed so I plan on finishing up my html and css lesson this week yet and having a good weekend of working on Cosmic Rage and finishing up several scenes I have started.

I also recorded and uploaded a new tutorial on my other site with plans to record another soon.

In other news, one of the side projects I was working on with a friend has been wrapped up (at least for now/pending updates). We created an app called Robot Candidate for iPad. The game is a board game that is a pass and play for up to 8 players, involving some light combat and fun animations. Did I mention it was free?

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.44.30 AM

New Location

I missed last weeks post due to the fact I was moving into my new apartment. While I didn’t get everything moved in, I got the majority of my stuff unloaded. I have a couple boxes of books, movies and some other art supplies left, which will most likely be part of this weekends agenda.

It feels a little weird having my own place again, although it has been a nice change of pace. I spent some time this week going through things and finding out some of my art supplies have dried up since being in storage. It has also made me rethink the way I live a little. I packed my things in Minnesota a couple years ago and it was like going into a time capsule as I was unpacking things.

I found numerous things I didn’t need any more but for some reason felt I would need back then. Over the last couple years my lifestyle has changed so much that it was kinda strange looking through some things. When I moved I never intended for my stuff to be in boxes for almost 2 years. I got by on limited supplies and items. A couple years later, it makes me wonder why I kept them to begin with.

I have had a growing interest in the “live simply” approach to life, by owning less things it frees for time and money up for doing more things. I would love to travel back to Japan in the next year or two and see more of the country and culture.

One thing I have done this week so far was taking a break from side projects and I started playing some video games. I would never classify myself as a hardcore gamer, but it has been nice to sit back and play some video games again. I think I am using it as an excuse to not work or code since my internet hasn’t been connected yet.

Which on that note, my coding courses have been going well. I wanted to start learning more code in 2014 and I am on my way. I attended a developer meet up last week and was thrust into dabbling in some node JS. I don’t even know javascript yet, but it was good to see how some of the little test exercises worked and it made me really excited to start javascript when I wrap up my html and css lessons. I am hoping to do that this weekend when I visit my parents and have internet. Going to look into getting back online today over lunch.

Another one of my goals has been to start back up recording tutorials and tips on my other site. For some reason I am having an issue with my recording software continually turning on my laptop camera whenever it wants to in the middle of recording. I can’t say I have had that problem before but I am hoping to get recording again soon. I have some good content I want to share and post up for the community.

Production Update 78

No production art update this week, my apologies. This week has been a little hectic. First off, I will be moving again at the end of the month to a more permanent location. That means I will be able to get all of my art supplies and gear for my new space. The last several months I have been operating with a pretty minimal selection of tools, I don’t even have my light able for doing any animation, no animation paper, not even a marker board for planning potential plot points. The good thing has been that the last couple months I have completed some freelance projects and also been working on animating in Adobe After Effects so I haven’t needed the drawing materials too badly, although I fear I may be a little rusty when I start back up again soon.

Not all was lost this week. I did some research on some bands that I like and think their music will go well into the Cosmic Rage Universe. I am hoping to reach out to a few of them this week and see if they would be interested in sharing some music for the project. I’ll provide an update on this as I learn more. The shots I am working on now will be timed out to the audio tracks so I need them to continue with them. I need the music for 4 scenes, which I have started compositing and laying some rough keyframes. Once I have the music I can go in and adjust the keyframes to be timed to the music better.

I have also started working on the scenes after these 4 in the story. That way I won’t be hung up waiting for music. Currently, I have one scene I have animated, I just need to render it out. Rendering had to take a slight break since I have a small freelance project to finish up this week.

Finally on the Cosmic Rage front, I found some solutions to issues with the i-book authoring for the project. I am really excited to continue to experiment with this as a possible way to distribute Cosmic Rage when the time comes.

On a personal note, I have reached the 10% completion stage in my online coding class as well. The courses I am going through now are based in html and css, 2 languages I have some experience with so they are a little bit of review but I am learning some new things as well. It is especially helpful to see how the teacher works, which is a good way to learn how to organize and structure things in a professional manner.