Apologies for the long pause between posts. Life has been…. interesting, these past few weeks. I’ll make up for it by working hard and posting often.
Now, as per the headline, my latest adjustments to the pencil test… In glorious HD.
I’m a visual person, and if I don’t see anything new going on for a while, I get bored. With that in mind, here’s a picture of a work in progress.
Graah! I work too slow!!
Richard Williams says walks are the toughest thing to animate. Now that I’m this deep into this project, I’m inclined to agree. That, and I’m rusty as hell. I’ve been making big mistakes like focusing on the line quality and the final product rather than the performance. Fortunately, I have buddies to keep me in line when I stray too far from the path. Cesar and OG Willie Wilson have been pushing the performance, and I will work hard to do just that.
For those who are interested, I’ve been using Plastic Animation Paper to animate this. It is now free software, so if you’re interested in trying your hand and hand drawn animation, this is a great program if you’re the digital sort. Of course, you could also try Flash, but I hate vectors!!
Finally- getting back to what I love! Animation!! God I love it so! And I’ve continued to put it off for petty reasons like work and a social life. Balderdash!! Honestly, I have been busy, and when I animate, I like to have large amounts of time set aside, because let’s face it, animating is a long and involved process.
And since I’ve been out of the game for a while, I thought it’d be a good idea to start with something simple- a walk cycle. But of course, I can’t settle for something so trivial. I have to challenge myself!! A walk cycle in perspective!! THE THIRRRRRRD DIMENSION!! I’ve never done one of these before- at least, not hand-drawn. So now’s the perfect time to start.
Pretty dull, right? Yeah, I agree. These are the budding stages though. A whole lot can go wrong here if you don’t plan out our actions properly. Right now, I’m getting a feel for the posing of the character, as well as the timing.
Ok, adding the pass position’s helping things out a bit! He’s walking a bit faster than planned here. He’s supposed to be mopey, each step should be a 16 frame step, about a third longer than march-time. “Jesse, what the hell are you talking about?” Most people walk in march-time, one half- a second per step. Because this is a mopey walk, he should be walking slower than normal. Since animators time and animate in 24 frames/second increments, half a second would be 12 frames. Thus, each step for Little Wolf here should take at least 16 frames per step. Ok, apologies for the lecture. Besides, you probably know this stuff already!
Haven’t updated the timing yet, but I’ve broken down the main walk a bit further. One step at a time! (So to speak!!)
Ok, that’s enough for now. More to come in the following days!
Heh, took me long enough. My store is now up. You can locate in the side bar to the right, along with the other site navigation links. All the stuff from Baltimore- the prints and the book, are available online.
THERE!! One more hurdle out of the way! Ah, the trials and tribulations of an independent publisher.
Heh, I hear that question far more often than I like to admit. Baltimore was a big example of that. Yes, Little Wolf looks like Aang, from Avatar: The Last Airbender. And there was a time where such a detail would have caused me to change my design or scrap the story all together.
I can think of multiple occasions where I would try and come up with a story, only to find someone else was doing something very much like it. I nearly stopped in my tracks when my friend Tim found this cover of Animation Magazine. “I’m a hack!” I thought. “I don’t have one original thought in my head!” After calming down a bit, I took some time to reflect. Yes, my character looks like that character. The conclusion I came to was this- who cares? Even if I’m telling the exact same story as Michel Ocelot, it is not the same story. Why? Because the story has never been told by me.
Consider the three of the directors of the recent Batman films- Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, and Christopher Nolan. Each director told a very different story than the one before him, yet they all told the story of the exact same character, inhabiting the exact same world. One could say the same of the Lord of the Rings adaptations. Rankin Bass, Ralph Bakshi, and Peter Jackson each brought a different vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books to the screen, and each had a value and charm of their own.
Now, all that being said, is Little Wolf’s story the same story as Aang’s? Well Joseph Campbell may argue that it is, but I am going to answer “no”. Aang’s journey was one where he had to cope with his pre-ordained destiny, and didn’t know if he would be able to live up to the world’s expectations. Little Wolf is searching for his purpose, and dealing with his own guilt and shame as he goes. I don’t wish to reveal much more, save that he will soon be leaving the safety of his village, and not necessarily of his own volition.
Thanks for listening! I’m sure there’s enough room in your heart for two bald heroes!
Whew!! That was crazy!The dust is finally beginning to settle, and I can breathe again! Thanks to everybody who stopped by the table, both friends, fans, and comics professionals alike. It really meant a great deal to me to get that show of support.
I’d like to thank these two fellas here in particular- Nelson Marehalau (left), and Zax (with an X) Rhoades (right) for joining me on this little adventure. They kept my spirits high during the entire convention, which helped me keep my sanity.
I don’t think I truly realized what I was getting into until after we’d set up the booth. I’m used to visiting conventions, not selling at one, and it was a completely different experience on the other side of the table. It’s truly an endurance challenge to try and sell your work for nine hours straight while all this amazing stuff is happening around you. Great artists showing their work, crazy costumed kids, panels with great authors, all passing you by. Sure, I took a break or two, but never more than 10 minutes. I was determined to man my station- to promote my work. This was in fact a work day, not a play day.
That being said, the work was pretty fun. Lots of interesting people stopped by, some of them artists themselves, others simply fans with similar interests. Our table mates were very good guys to be around, and it turned out we went to college with a few of them. Some very talented students whom I’d taught at the Art Institute of Washington also stopped by to show their support, as well as show me what they were working on. Jeff Smith even stopped by, which was a very big deal for me. I got him to autograph my copy of Rasl while he was there.
Some more pics, courtesy of Nelson-
The calm before the storm-
One thing that caught me by surprise was how much attention my models got. I suppose it’s a bit of a novelty to have something physical in an otherwise flat medium.
For those who aren’t familiar, these are 3d prints. I modeled them in Maya, and got them printed by a very cool company called Shapeways. If you can model in 3d or know someone who can, this is a very nice way to bring your creations to life.
Ultimately, this was a great learning experience. Being on the business side of the table offers a completely new perspective on convention goings on, and it was definitely worth doing. Thanks again to all those who visited our table, and I hope to see you again in the future!!
Where to begin? The beginning would take too long, so let’s start at the middle-
Four days to Baltimore Comic Con, and my debut of Little Wolf, chapter 1. I look forward to seeing all the great talent there. They have a ton of great guests coming over, and I’m sorry to say I don’t know anybody really. I’m truly a fish out of water here in the world of comics, so I’d better learn to swim right-quick. One thing I can tell you is that I’m looking forward to seeing Jeff Smith.
And of course, I’m interested in seeing the reception of my own work. We’ll see what happens. As I type this, the website is in shambles. No images in the image gallery, no links in the blogroll. Truly pathetic. I’ll have to double my efforts- it would be embarrassing to have someone visit and find the website in its current condition! Stay tuned!! More to come!!