Greetings, interweb. Here’s what I got up to in November 2017, starting with…
A secret project!
Can’t say much about this yet. It was a freebie album cover which I took on for the experience and to stretch my abilities beyond my comfort zone. I relied heavily on a certain Space VFX series and a classic thread on BlenderArtists for inspiration and techniques.
Once the associated project is out, I’ll show it off. 🙂
Animation and other Blendery stuff
The speedy green antics of AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA have been shelved for the foreseeable future. My heart’s not in it, but at least it yielded a great little cockatoo rig who also fits into the visual style of AMITS. Maybe he can hang out with Gronky and Pointy…
Does the cockatoo need big thick eyebrows as well? Answers in the comments.
Speaking of those two, I patched a nice zappy electricity arc sound for the robot in AMITS. This is a random five second excerpt from that session. (Warning: loud.)
Electronics and other beepbooping
Through the magic of soldering, I’ve added distortion, another audio mixer and another sequencer to DASYRAC’s arsenal of goodies. Here’s the distortion, featuring its quirky LED limiter section.
I also bought a drum machine because I got tired of patching together basic drum sounds every time I want a beat. I’ve started looking into Arduino to see what I can do to trigger it from the patchbay instead of needing to rely on MIDI.
I started doing write-ups on all the modules in DASYRAC too. There’s about fifty of them so I’ll still be doing write-ups a year from now if I can’t get through more than one per week.
It’s been 5 to 11 November 2017 and it’s been an extremely synthesiser-centric week!
Beepity boop boops
Sunday was showing a friend around my modular synth to show her Eurorack in the flesh and get her pumped for her upcoming electronic engineering degree. That seems to have set the tone for the whole week.
On Monday evening, I got my parcel of DIY kits from Thonk and soldered together a Horstronic Arcade Button…
…then on Wednesday evening, I spent time testing out said modules which I had no time left for on Tuesday, resulting in this strangely pleasant noise..
On Thursday evening I spent putting together a particularly big order to Thonk, and on Friday evening I was testing out sample playback on the Disting Mk 4 and creating lovely crunchy triplet beats.
And finally today (Saturday) I started mindmapping an overview of analogue vs digital voltage control sequencers to see if it’s worth following up. There’s a surprising amount to talk about for little circuits that just eat pips and spit out voltages.
What’s behind the dots? Wouldn’t you like to know…
So that’s pretty much been my week, which leads neatly into..
The last of the weeklies
After 3 1/2 years of weekly blogs (since May 2014 when I started “A moment in the sun”), I’m going back to a less frequent posting schedule again. Without a consistently active production to talk about, touching base every single week has begun to feel strange and perfunctory. There’ll be posts here in the future, but only when I have something worth saying. 🙂
It’s goodbye then to “see you next week” – so see you ’round! 🙂
It was a challenge to work with physical media for a bit, but I’m glad it got me learning how to work with the brush pen. I’ve carried around that pen with me every day for two years so it’s about time I got some use out of it.
It’s been good to pick up a slightly larger following on Instagram as well and see what people are up to over there. It’s definitely not just for selfies, though there are a lot of those too.
The return of AAAAAAAAAAAAAA
I’ve got a quick and dirty “mouth foley” soundtrack happening for AAAAAAAAAAAAAA, finally. Like many 1980s kids, I thought Michael Winslow’s character from Police Academy was awesome and tried to copy what he did.. and I’ve never really stopped making weird noises with my face since! 🙂 It’s certainly a helpful skill to have for stubbing out funny sound effects quickly…
The soundtrack is a little bare right now but I wanted to share it anyway because I really like how those monks sound. The pyramid shot’s working nicely now that it has sound.
Happy little beeps
To finish off this week, here’s a few happy little beepboops from DASYRAC. The rack is getting pretty close to full up now which means having to make decisions about how to use the space I’ve got, and whether I want to free up existing space to put something else in. There’s also a couple of misbehaving modules which could use some troubleshooting, but I don’t want to make too many more changes. They get kind of expensive!
Here’s a lovely sound I got out of DASYRAC last night. It uses the hard sync on the Befaco EvenVCO driven by another oscillator sitting at a constant pitch to turn a little pentatonic melody into an Underworldy drone. I like it. 🙂
Speaking of Blender Conference, I’ve entered RYGCBMKO into the Suzanne Awards which are voted on at the conference. The selection is narrowed down by internet polling so please go and vote!
Also this week, I’ve picked up an unpaid-but-going-to-give-it-a-shot-anyway-type commission as well. I can’t say too much about it except that it’s the polar opposite of the low key cute quirky stuff that I usually do. Should be quite the challenge!
I’ve been cutting back on Twitter this week too and it’s been like taking a big pointy stone out of my shoe. I’m still popping by once a day to skim through notifications and signal boost stuff about quolls and Blender, but it’s not on my mobile devices anymore and it’s honestly quite the relief!
It’s been 24 to 30 September 2017. I’ve been sick all week. Again. Ugghh(cough-cough)gghhh! I’m back on antibiotics and bedrest again and hopefully that kills this stupid lurgi once and for all.
I want to apologise to all regular readers for being such a gloomy gus the last few weeks while I’ve been ill. It’s bad enough coughing constantly and feeling like hell, but not having the energy to work on stuff spirals me down into some pretty unhappy places on top of all of that. I lose the energy to work, then I don’t want to work, then I lose confidence in myself, then I get withdrawn and don’t want anything to do with anything – not even watching shorts which might pick my spirits up because I’m worried I’ll just feel bad that I haven’t worked on mine for a while.
Anyway. this week I’m less sure that abandoning all animation projects for crunching on portfolio stuffing makes a lot of sense right now. I put that decision down to the aforementioned withdrawnness. I want more characters and scenery to show off what I do, and AAAAAAAAAAAAAA will give me that, but I don’t want it to be a constraint on my creativity if I feel like doing something completely different…
…and this is all kind of moot for the next 31 days because I’m going to be trying my hand at Inktober for the first time. See you with drawing number one (Swift) tomorrow!
Preface: This post deserves some background. For the month leading up to this I’d been depressed, physically ill, getting switched around on projects at the day job and generally having a crappy time of things. My living routines were disrupted, the illness was making it hard to catch a whole night of sleep and things that were once possible seemed completely implausible. And through all this, I still had a journal to write…
It’s been 17 to 23 September 2017 but I’m posting this at dawn on Sunday the 24th. I can’t seem to shake this cough and I don’t think I’ve had a full night of sleep in a week. Tonight will probably be more of the same.
This would have been the weekend that AAAAAAAAAAA wrapped up, being as this is the Queens Birthday long weekend, but bouts of illness and dayjob stress all ground its precious momentum to a halt before it reached any kind of releasable state. There’s still no soundtrack and it’s still three shots long.
Truth is, I’m not inclined to pick it up and keep going with it, either. I’ve lost my taste for doing any animated film stuff, honestly. Doing the solo animated film thing isn’t viable for me right now anyway, so it makes sense to switch to something else.
Something like learning how to use all these nifty plug-ins I’ve bought (e.g. Retopoflow), or getting to grips with bits of Blender I avoid (e.g. hair system and physics), or just smashing through the model-rig-texture workflow over and over without trying to fit the result into an overall project. Something like honing skills and getting out there: entering competitions; drawing (or speedsculpting) during work breaks; identifying and filling skill gaps; generally keeping the juices flowing while banking a lot of short focussed work. I went through some of that process with music so I already know the value of it.
“I’m grinding” doesn’t sound as grandly impressive as “I’m making an animated film”, but I can live with that. My ambitions are more practical now.
Thanks for reading!
Afterword: Not much changed as a result of this resolution. I continued to cough and splutter my way through the week and feel out of sorts. Resolute blog posts change nothing.
It’s been 10 to 16 September 2017. I was down with a respiratory infection all week and I still haven’t shaken it completely. I’m tired of coughing. 😐
Submissions for the Suzanne Awards 2017 opened earlier this week. (The Suzannes are the Blender Conference’s little Blender-centric film competition.) I’ve entered RYGCBMK◯ with no expectations at all of it getting anywhere. It’s my first time entering anything into any kind of animation festival. Hopefully its fluffy good times lift the spirits of all who consider it for an award. 🙂
I’ve been listening to a ton of Belgian new beat and eurodance this week like a sad old bastard. Here’s a classic from the era and the very first CD single I ever bought: L.A Style’s “James Brown Is Dead”.