Weekly

What I’ve been doing for the previous week.

Inktober, week 3!

It’s been 15 to 21 October 2017 and the blog has actually pretty busy this week! There’s been lots of music posts and a huge write-up about tips and tricks for Blender Conference.

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!

And now, on with the inks!

#inktober #inktober2017 15. Mysterious! I think this squirrel might be up to no good..

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#inktober #inktober2017 16. Fat. Well would you just look at that chubby little.. uh.. I have no idea.

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#inktober #inktober2017 17. Graceful. Something a little more abstract/experimental.

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#inktober #inktober2017 18. Filthy! The day the dog snaps its lead and goes for a swim in the local swamp..

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#inktober #inktober2017 19. Cloud. A little surrealism tonight. 🙂

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#inktober #inktober2017 20. Deep! A cute little angler fish says hi.

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#inktober #inktober2017 21. Furious. Someone is a little upset they dropped their ice cream…

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There’s ten more days of Inktober left, then it’s back to projects.

Inktober, week 2!

That was 8 to 14 October 2017. Would you believe I’m still trying to shake this respiratory illness? Believe it.

Here’s week 2 of my Inktober 2017! This week was all brush pen.

#inktober #inktober2017 8. Crooked! A zigzaggy gecko.

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#inktober #inktober2017 9. SCREECH!! Could only be a cockatoo 🙂

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#inktober #inktober2017 10. Gigantic! A monstery thing gets a helping hand.

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#inktober #inktober2017 11. Run! A running chuditch copied not super well from a recent Twitter photo

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#inktober #inktober2017 12. Shattered. It's hard to carry eggs when you're a slime monster!

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#inktober #inktober2017 13. Teeming! As in "this weird frog monster's tongue is teeming with little friends"

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#inktober #inktober2017 14. Fierce! Even little creatures have a lot of front when they need it.

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Aside from Inktober, I’m back into soldering this weekend now that the weather’s fined up a bit. I’ve got two more kits to build at which point I get a voltage controllable sequencer and a clock manipulator to go with the contact mic and delay effect that arrived a week ago. DASYRAC gets better and better, yay!

I’ll see you next week for mysterious, fat, graceful, filthy, cloud, deep and furious Inktober! 🙂

Inktober, week 1!

It’s been 1 to 7 October 2017, which neatly overlaps with the first week of Inktober! It’s fun finally getting some practice in with the brush pen. 🙂

Here’s this week’s pictures, fresh from my Instagram account:

#inktober Day 1: Swift

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#inktober Day 2: Divided

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#inktober #inktober2017 4. Underwater. Back to trying the brush pen again!

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#inktober #inktober2017 5. Long!

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#inktober #inktober2017 6. Sword(fish)! More brush pen work.

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#inktober #inktober2017 7. Shy. Turned into a brush pen texturing test bed midway through 🙂

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See you with more pictures next week!

Away with you, September!

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!

Giving up right

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.

A first time for everything

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”.

An even more off week

The week just gone was 3 to 9 September 2017. I didn’t start up Blender or switch on my modular synth all week.

I appear to be having a run of creatively unproductive weeks where I’m completely out of patience, stamina and focus. This week has been the worst one so far: either I didn’t even want to make anything or I got five minutes into half-arsing something then decided it was all too hard and gave up.

So that’s where I’ve been this week. I’d like to be somewhere different next week, within reason.

Speaking of funk in an entirely different (and better) sense, I’ve been listening to a lot of James Brown lately. Here’s a long form session from 1973 called “Doing It To Death” where James is super happy to see Maceo Parker. I hope you like it!

Potato

It’s been 27 August to 2 September 2017.

Lately I’ve been hit with a mixture of bad sleep, mid-project boredom, dayjob stress and general restlessness. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA has stalled and I’m even finding it hard to get my head together to write a blog entry. This mental fuzz is truly brutal.

So let’s forget about all that stuff this week. Here’s the long version of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” which I could happily listen to until the heat death of the universe.

I’ve also been watching a ton a YouTube puppet show called Glove and Boots. It’s a mix of comedy sketches, inept let’s plays and live streams. You may know them from their Vertical Video Syndrome PSA, their helpful product testing videos or their song parodies (from which I borrowed this week’s blog title). Lately they have also been doing a brisk trade in catchphrases:

I got super inspired by watching these jokers having too much fun, so I set up Open Broadcast Studio and figured out how to get my recording setup and modular synth streaming to YouTube. I also briefly fantasised about doing my own puppet show because I miss doing voice acting and animation is slow, but then I remembered I have too many hobbies as is.

Sorry for the abrupt ending but I’m about to be late for something and I’ve tried about thirty times to finish the blog properly. As promised, here’s an image of a potato which has nothing to do with anything other than the blog title. See you next week, hopefully with no need for a potato.

I hereby potato this blog entry for its own good. Potato potato.

The cactus speaks!

It’s been 20 to 26 August 2017. In short: I got the rest of the shot rendered, then I got sick.

Here’s an ungraded version of that render with a draft sound effect for the magic cactus. I don’t think it’s quiiiite there yet. See what you think!

 

I don’t have an idea for where to go with Shot 4 yet, except that there should be no more spinning for a bit. The last shot had spinning in it too. Enough spinning for now, I think.

Since I’m focusing on sound, some kind of sound-related gag would work. I don’t even have an actual “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” sound recorded yet, just ideas. Having that sound could lead to all kinds of silly and fun places. I can certainly give that some thought while I’m back-filling the rest of the shots with sound design.

Hurry up and wait, it’s rendering time!

It’s been 13 to 19 August 2017. The animation for Shot 3 is done and I’m midway through 36 hours of rendering as I type this. There’s 286 frames to render in total with each 16-bit 1920*1080 OpenEXR frame rendering in 11 minutes on my desktop and in 19 minutes on my laptop. As of right this minute, there’s about 37 frames left to do. It’s all looking fine so far with nothing obvious to fix up in composite.

No need to wait for this though – here’s a boomsmash of the final (unrendered) animation, based on last week’s blocking. I might tweak a few frames in final edit, but it’s render-ready. 🙂

 

Not all cactuses levitate when you scream at them, but you should always try it just in case.

Instead of hopping directly into Shot 4 once Shot 3 is rendered, I want to jump over to sound editing for the existing shots so I don’t get too backlogged there. Also I just took delivery of a nifty frequency shifter which should be super helpful for creating the hum of a levitating cactus…

Speaking of Blender 2.79 though, it’s going to be a big release: I’m already using the new render denoising and filmic colour LUTs for AAAAAAAAAA; surface deform will likely come in very handy down the track; and Blender users have been patiently awaiting a principled shader and shadow catcher for literally years. Also the simplifications to the video encoder panel are awesome. If you’re a Blenderhead, go grab the release candidate, read the release notes on what’s changed and report any bugs you find! 🙂

See you next week!