Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The head libraries for the upcoming episode of Ronin Dojo Community College are finally finished. Let me explain what your looking at besides a crappy cell phone picture. These folders contain the head libraries for 3 main characters and 1 smaller head library for a side character- who coincidentally has a smaller head than all of the main characters. Each main character has: 10 heads (which make up a full rotation), 4 sets of mouths, 7 sets of eyebrows, and 7 sets of eyes. It seems kinda confusing but I'll make a diagram of how it all plays out once I scan everything in.

Anyways, now we're onto the actual animating sorta. We have 18 shots to animate for this episode. Matt has already started on some of the tougher moves. You can check out a rough pencil test on his blog. Meanwhile, I still have a few tedious hurtles to jump over before I get to the tedious hurtles of creating the illusion of movement. Firstly, I had to draw this crowd shot.

I also have to work on the main background which, like crowd shots, can be tough for me. I really envy people who can draw and paint backgrounds, it's hard to do without making them seem clunky or flat. But whatever, I get by on my good looks and by tracing postcards for backgrounds. I don't think anyone noticed, but the backgrounds for IM IN UR MANGER- all traced postcards from Carson City, Nevada.

Think about it.

Boogie Nights & Robot Rights

Friday, July 25, 2008

For Darrell- NOW IN COLOR

I'm pysched Darrell liked it, maybe he'll like it more- in COLORAMA VISION™!
These are the colors I used.

I tried putting warm colors against cool colors to make Wolfsbane stand out. But since the subject's colors were lukewarm and my background was lukecool it might have just made whole thing luke bad. If you get what I mean.

Colored-In Tights & Robot Rights

Thursday, July 24, 2008

For Darrell

Wolfsbane. The closest I'll get to furry artwork. I'm gonna color this one in.

Hairy Tights & Robot Rights

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You wanna see a magic trick? -or- A José Canseco Bat? Tell me you didn't pay money for this.

These are some sketches I did while waiting in line to see The Dark Knight. There was quite a variety of people who arrived early to get themselves a proper seat for ginormous IMAX screening. I wish I could have drawn more of them.

The Dark Knight is definitely the best comic book/super hero movie aside from maybe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they're practically in different genres so I won't put them up against each other. Man, I could go on for hours about how awesome TMNT is. Anyways, despite all of Dark Knight's completely solid awesomeness- I still can't bring myself to draw some Batman fan art drawrings. I grew up drawing Wile E. Coyote and copying Jim Lee panels from X-Men- specifically a lot of Psylocke and Beast. I only have a few Batman comic books in my small collection- so I feel like it would be dishonest to jump on the Batman fan art wagon right now. So I'm gonna draw a Psylocke.

Yeah Betsy Braddock!

Meanwhile... I still suck at color theory.
I'm trying to work out a color schematic for the next RDCCDX short. It takes place outside a strip mall store front at night. So I tried to give a slightly green flourescence vibe to the lighted areas, but I dunno something still isn't striking me right. The only thing I know about color is that I've had good luck working with a limited range of colors- it seems to keep things cohesive.

Dark Knights & Robot Rights

Friday, July 18, 2008

What was that?!

Here's a little fake PS3 game art I'm working on for the new Ronin Dojo Community College mini saga.

I know- the reference is really obscure. The joke will come into full effect once you see the first episode, which should be done in late August. . . I hope. Anyone want to volunteer to scan and color once we get this thing rolling?

Marlboro Lights & Robot Rights

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Syballance, syballance...

I made a quick little pencil test of a finished set of upturned mouths. I haphazardly threw them in, trying not to put too many vowels in a row. It kind of looks like he's saying "Pohsheyflaffp"- the standard phrase that animators have been using to test cheap mouth movements for years.

There's a weird line separating each mouth from the face. We like to draw full chin movements for our mouth sets, it's gives the characters a little more life. Since Photoshop needs a closed off area in order to quickly fill in the chin with color, we have to draw that wavy top line to enclose the chin- it's later erased or masked out in After Effects. Typically when you're drawing for animation, you try to close all of your lines so that the coloring process goes easier. Though when you don't have time to ink- it never seems to. At least for us, because we're not that smart, and I don't press hard enough when cleaning up or something.

Testing Mics & Robot Rights

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On The Mouth

All of the dialogue has been recorded and edited for the new Ronin Dojo Community College four part mini saga. So, it is with a shitty animatic under our belts, that we charge forth into animation. Which for me means making some heads. Since the shorts Matt and I make are so dialogue intensive, and we are too lazy to deal with exposure sheets, we make heads for main characters, that can be re-used for any shots with basic angles.

A head set for a character usually contains a front, 3/4 and maybe profile head drawing, and some inbetween heads to smooth out the turns between each angle. For each of the main heads we do a set of eyebrows, eyes and mouths. When we put the whole thing into After Effects, each eyebrow, eye and mouth can be turned off an on or moved around in sync with the dialogue.

This is roughly what our mouth sets are going to be I think. 10 main upturned mouths, 3 quiet mouths and 8 down-turned mouths. For those not versed in animation, you don't make mouths for each letter but for sounds really. So number 1 on my chart is an M,P,B mouth, number 2 is works for T,D,N and a range of consonants. 3 is AH, 4 is EE, 5 is OOH etc.

Mouths 9 and 10 are redundant, they're just louder versions of mouths 5 and 3. We've found that when you're lip syncing lots of quick talking that has a lot of "AHs" going on, it's good to have a variety to switch it up so your character doesn't just look like a quacking duck.

After Effects lip syncing is something you gotta develop a feel for; some tips for any beginners are that sometimes you want to turn on mouths a frame or so before the sound hits, and try not to have a bunch of mouths on for only one frame in a row, it looks way too fast.

When we were doing IM IN UR MANGER KILLING UR SAVIOR we made mouth and expression sets on a shot to shot basis. Afterwards, we realized that most of our angles were just head on or 3/4 and we could have been reusing those mouths and eyes if we were smart. So this is us trying to be smart- supposedly. Though depending on the distance of the camera, we have to add stroke layers to the heads in Photoshop to match the thickness of the pencil lines for the rest of the shots, but that's another story I guess. Man I hate how blogger thinks dialogue should be spelled dialog. I like the ue damn it.

Kissing Pipes & Robot Rights

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vacation Sketches

Here are some sketches I did while I was on my vacation. You can find more in my flickr set.

"elderly couple at JFK outside Balducci's-she didn't look that angry"

Some random faces at JFK

"German woman + Greek Man watching Turkey vs. Germany in the Euro Cup while aboard the ferry boat to Naxos. The Greek man suprisingly was from Rockville, MD"

I had kind of turned my chair around to draw the people all glued to the TV. It was hard to capture the poses of the German family since they kept moving around with the suspense of the game, but that old Greek dude was like a statue- rooting for anything but Turkey.

"if Athen and Zeus were ska"

Poster idea I sketched out

Turkish Delights & Robot Rights