Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Still getting over the post-Otakon euphoria/withdrawal. I never went to sleep-away camp when I was, but I assume this is the feeling you get when you leave camp. You're back to reality, your same old routine, and don't get to hang around all your camp friends all day who are dressed up like Street Fighter characters. That's what happens at sleep away camp right? I mean, I went to day camp. I just assumed when you went away for more than one night, dressing up was a pre-requisite.

Anyways, several news updates. Firstly, Matt and I have some made some massive For Tax Reasons plans for the upcoming months. We're hoping to release some merch to fill out our very small selection. Planning to have some posters and a new t-shirt design.

We WOULD have had the new shirts for Otakon- BUT I've been struuuuggling with silk screening lately. Everything that could possibly go wrong in the making of these new shirts has gone wrong. I've gone through 4 screens now. But I'm not giving up! I have put TOO much money into this operation and have too many blank American Apparel shirts that aren't my size.

Anyways, we should have new shirts coming up soon.

Secondly, I finally joined the Twitter machine. So if you want to see the random thoughts I have as I sit around animating, follow me:

Finally, I'm back to work on the music video for Teenage Bottlerocket. We've switched things up and I'm now doing a video for their upcoming full-length debut release on Fat Wreck Chords "They Came From The Shadows". It'll be dropping September 15th, which means, I cannot reveal details of the super secret new song that's in the video. But I will give you a peek at the storyboards I just finished today. Check it out.

I know, right. Total album spoiler. Ok I'm out, my back hurts.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Holy Plug Suit Gatchaman! It's the final episode of RDCCDX: DPODW!

Whew, we just got back from day one of Otakon (day two if you count standing in the pre reg line Thursday night) and it was awesome!

Our panel "Let's Talk Animation! with For Tax Reasons" went off without a hitch, and surprisingly there were more than 10 people in attendance. In fact, the whole room was filled with fans. And they actually wanted to watch each episode of Ronin Dojo Community College DX: The Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga. We were just thinking we'd premiere the last episode as we'd promised, but they asked for it.

So now that the otaku's have seen it, we're throwing it out to the internet. So here it is- the final RDCCDX: Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga, it's Episode 4: "End of the Road".

Thanks to the Otakon Staff, Panel Ops, and the A/V crew for helping us out and twiddling with the sound each time I annoyingly asked. Thanks to Alan from Otaku Generation and Scott for helping us with the Otakon stuff. Thanks to all the people who came out to the panel and laughed and asked questions. Thanks to Tim Martin to providing hilarious voice acting, Matt Mayer for making some sweet 3-D titles and helping us with compositing, Darrell for coloring and taking photos during the panel and Zack for video taping the panel and giving us his advice.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Shape of Punk To Come

This is a little promo I cut for the For Tax Reasons panel at Otakon, where we'll be discussing DIY animation and screening the final episode in the Digital Pirates of Dark Water story arc. If you're going to be at Otakon here are the panel details.

Let's Talk Animation! with For Tax Reasons
Friday, July 17th @ 1:15 PM
Baltimore Convention Center, Panel 2

As you can see, it's almost a week until Otakon, and we've got roughly 30 or so shots left to finish the cartoon. The countdown is on. If we bust our asses, we can do it. I've been testing out some background colors, here's a rough assemblage of what it's going to look like.

The shot isn't that big, but that's what the whole Photoshop file looks like. Anyways, back to work. I hope people show up for this panel. Not that I mind talking to an empty room, but you know, it always helps you seem not crazy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

RDCCDX: Digital PIrates of Dark Water: Episode 3.5: You Are (Not) Loved

Here it is, the second to last installment in the Ronin Dojo Community College DX: Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga. It's Episode 3.5: You Are (Not) Loved.

This is the first of the RDCCDX cartoons produced with our new digital workflow AKA draw directly into the computer on Cintiqs. However it wasn't completely digital. We were still using our old head library, which had originally been drawn in pencil on paper, scanned, and then vectorized
* in Illustrator. The sharpness of the vectorized lines in the head drawings help match them with the body and background lines drawn with the Cintiq, but they're not as smooth, you can still see a lot of bumps in them.

If you haven't read my blog before, Matt and I created a library of head positions, mouths and eyes for each character, which we reuse over and over so save drawing time. And even though we had used these head libraries only several months ago, opening them up for this project was a like opening a time capsule. All of the characters looked slightly off model to me, which is a bit strange because there is no official model sheet we have. The heads looked too long, and their features were spread far apart. It's strange how character designs evolve as you slowly progress as an artist, and just evolve with the repetition of drawing them over and over and getting to know them better.

Shit, looking back on the other episodes I can see the progress Matt and I have made, and I'm a little startled. I would change a lot of things. In Episode 2.5, Jerry's head is should be much bigger, his body look too adult for him. And the backgrounds and perspective are so flat on everything. Oh well, what's done is done. I'm not going to pull some Lucas bullshit and redo them. Only out of laziness though. However if anyone wants to give us tons of money, I'll pull some Anno bullshit and redo them in crazy awesome looking movie form.

*if you're confused about what I'm saying when I refer to the vectorizing pencil lines process, read this.