Archive for September, 2006

A bit of a break

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

I’m not going to pretend I got lots done. This month got off to a slow start. With Disgaea 2 finally hitting our shores, and that inevitable peer pressure to play Oblivion, it seemed like the right thing to do.

But mixed in to a reasonably large game engine re-engineering effort, which always seems to be 2 weeks away from bearing fruit, there’s been my little project of art research or training, or whatever catchy “make art better” phrase I come up with at the time. Every month I keep telling myself I take it very seriously, and every month I seem to discover a new level of seriousness. Well, I suppose I’m more serious now that I have a bookshelf and a half full of art/animation books and a Tablet PC, when 3 months ago I had only a hand full of Christopher Hart books and the Preston Blair animation book.

Alright, so to kick things off, I got off my lazy ass and sat my lazy ass in front of a TV and watched some cartoons. Ahh, YTV. It’s been maybe 7 years since I tuned that channel. Given Canada’s fun set of government programs that sponsor media production (TV, Film, and more recently video games), I figured I’d learn more about what our tax dollars (sorta) pay for.

Holy flash Batman!

I knew flash was catching on it Animation land, especially on the Williams Street/Cartoon Network Adult Swim stuffs, but apparently I missed memo that it had become the de-facto tool. Not that I can blame them, given the lovely smoothy goodness of vector art.

To my amusement, the first thing I caught was the credits for The Amazing Adrenalini Brothers, which an old friend from public/high school is an animator on. And to think, 10 years ago we were fascinated with QBasic.

So, after sitting through a dozen shows, taking notes, and thanks to my obsessions with workflows and getting the most out of your content (while still making it compelling), I’ve developed quite an appreciation. The balance of straight lines and curves. The nearly always used 3/4’s views, and that 3/4′ths don’t look cheesy (or I’m used to them). Of course, thanks to 3/4′ths, I’m now compelled to have a conversation with someone whilst standing almost sideways and looking at them from out of the corner of my eye.

Art wise, I’m not sure where this puts me now. Given I learned to draw from NES/SNES/C64 era video games, limited exposure to Anime, and I stole a few ideas from webcomics and my pixel artist friends. I’m now actually putting an effort in to understanding aspects of anatomy and “American style” animation (for lack of a better name), which amazingly seem to explain where various stylized details come from, instead of my usual memorizing of every cool detail I see in other peoples art. Digging through model sheets, background art, and all kinds of crap thanks to the blog network. Yeah, it seems some time in 2005, several artists involved in Animation all decided to start blogs. Now it seems to be the norm. Some of them let slip model sheets, high quality stills, concept art, and short clips. I followed Drawn for a while, but Cold Hard Flash and Animation Meat have proven useful.

It seems I also have a few hundred meg reference library now, given I didn’t have one a year ago (or rather I didn’t use it). So now I’m going to go sit over there, and pretend I’m enlightened or something.

Oh, and because I think it’s funny, I’m going to end this mostly art related post without any art. Ha ha!