3.19.2009

Gear vector

I recently cleaned up and vectored a version of the character Gear for Monstroville!! The original design is by the magnificent Miah Alcorn!


I did a little animation test of him, too, which you can see over at the Monstroville blog here.

Ward Kimball Signed Library Card

I recently bought this cool artifact!



A library card signed by one of the Nine Old Men!! Ward Kimball probably got this out of the Burbank library. It's not much to look at, but I'm so stoked!

I can now add this to my signed book, Kimball's Art Afterpieces, that I bought at a store in Burbank when I used to live out there for very cheap. When I purchased it, apparently they priced it so low not knowing that his signature was in the book, and the guy at the counter quickly offered to buy it back from me for twice and then quadruple the price he had marked it as. I rejected his offers - not because of the money but because I just wanted to own an authentically signed Ward Kimball book. When I went back there last summer, the store had gone out of business. It was located next door to Blast from the Past. I don't really want to scan the signature since it's on the inside front cover of the book and it is somewhat delicate, but this is what the front cover looks like.


I also won a group of Ward Kimball's tin toys on ebay last year that I keep in my toy collection. I'll post those sometime too.

Oh hey, look! There's Ward in that picture below! And who's he with? I forget his name...Walt something or another, I think.

Ronin Media Logo Animation

I recently completed a logo animation for a friend of Animal.



So I never really posted my process to get to a finished piece on here and thought I'd share how I got to this finished piece. From beginning to end this took about 2 weeks. Jeff came to me with the image below and asked if I could come up with an idea for the animation.


I juggled some ideas including samurai sword fighting, anime, and asian culture, and then the opening sequence to Kung Fu Panda came to mind as inspiration to draw from.





So I drew up this storyboard with this artistic direction in mind.


He also needed a typeface for his logo, so I presented these options that I thought best matched the culture of the character.


Jeff liked the storyboard, so I moved forward with quickly creating a rough animatic for timing in Flash. Very quick.

video
After this step, when animating the samurai, my animation needed to match up as closely as possible to the drawing Jeff gave me. So I created a vector version in Illustrator since I knew that I would need to eventually anyway (since the version Jeff gave me was a bitmap that would probably get pixelated in the video). This also gave me a good idea to remember where the clothing wraps, how low it should hang, how much of his arms are showing, his hair length, etc so that while animating I could keep these things in mind.


I then created a rough animation test to get the movement of the guy running and jumping, hand animated in Flash.

video
I then blocked in color and started finalizing background art.

video
I wanted the background in the opening to be very eye-grabbing, so I used bright warm/hot colors with rough textures to mimick the old feel that you might see on old chinese transcripts. I wanted this to contrast the flat colors on the character and the dark background at the end.


I exported separate layers from Flash as PNG sequences with alphas, then imported these sequences into AfterEffects to create motion blurs.

video
Finally it was time to jump back on the logo type. Jeff picked a typeface he liked best from the options above and I went with it. I wanted to make sure the text really popped on top of the dark grey/black background and was very legible. I went into Illustrator and below is what you see in the final footage.


The sound was added afterward by a friend of Jeff's. I regretfully forget his name, but will make sure to update when I find out for his credit that really makes this piece work! Overall, quick and easy process - thanks to Jeff for the great opportunity to have some fun with this!

Thanks for reading!

3.18.2009

City Folk

Cameras Left on Benches in NYC

Someone left a couple of cameras attached to benches in NYC - one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn - to see what would happen. A note was attached to each which read “Good afternoon! I attached this camera to the bench so you could take pictures. Seriously. So have fun. I’ll be back later this evening to pick it up.” Sure enough when they returned to pick up the cameras, they were still there and the rolls of film had been filled.

When they were developed they had some interesting results.




View the rest of the pictures here.
Now I feel very inspired to try this out in Pittsburgh!

Found via swissmiss

3.05.2009

Flash CS4 - Linking a Quicktime is No More

So I've slowly been getting in the groove of animating with the new features of Flash CS4. Cool motion editor, IK capability, X-Y-Z rotation...all great new stuff, and so much more! BUT when I went to File > Import > Import to Library and selected a Quicktime file I wanted to link to in the timeline to animate on top of like I have in CS3 and older, there was no option for that.

This is what the import window looked like in Flash CS3:

And then after hitting Continue the user is presented with this:

I would then select the bottom option, "Linked QuickTime video for publishing to QuickTime". I needed to select Flash Player 5 in the Publish Settings for this to work, but that didn't matter to me since my final export wouldn't be a SWF, but instead a jpg or png sequence to make a QuickTime.

Now in CS4, instead of that screen, when the user goes to Import to Library, they are presented with these options:

I didn't want to import an FLV, I wanted to import and link a Quicktime for animating on top of for timing purposes. Then I would composite the animation on top of the Quicktime in AfterEffects (or other editing software). Since importing a Quicktime wasn't an option, I converted the Quicktime into an FLV file and selected the "Load external video with playback component", to which I quickly learned that's not what I wanted. I read "Embed FLV..." but thought that's also not what I wanted (why I didn't just try that in the first place I don't know), and I knew I didn't want to "Import as mobile device...".

I searched online and in the Flash help menu for an answer but couldn't find anything that addressed my specific issue in detail. So I called the Adobe helpline. After waiting a while and speaking with several people answering the same questions (what is your customer id, serial number, name, company, what is your issue, etc) about five times, I finally was on the phone with someone that could answer my question. Apparently the issue is that Flash CS4 no longer supports importing or linking QuickTimes. Nada. So there are two workarounds. 1: Go back to Flash CS3, import as you used to and you can then open that file in CS4 and it will work. Or the other option I will now be using, numero 2: Convert the QT into an FLV, import to library, and select Embed FLV in SWF and play in timeline. You are then given this window:

You may select Embedded Video or Graphic which which will stream in the timeline when you scrub. Movie Clips do not stream, but the flv video file will still be imported into your library which you can drag onto the timeline to scrub through.

This process is probably self-explanatory to many people, but for people like me that was used to importing and linking the QuickTime in previous versions I wanted to clear this up and note the change from CS3 to CS4 for anyone else that runs into this same issue. Hopefully you will find this blog post helpful!

Cheers!

3.01.2009

Liz Gilbert is inspirational

I've been watching these various lectures from TED that have been really inspirational. I just watched Liz Gilbert talking about how we perceive inspiration and thought you might find this as interesting as I did.



via Luc Latulippe, via Jon Hogman

Another one of my favorites is a great lecture by designer Paula Scher. (I loved her rant about how she hated Helvetica, and as someone pointed out to me, that is the font used on the podium in front of her)
See it here.