Announcement: Mutwale Site Live!

If you scope its recently created website you'll see that Mutwale is quickly approaching full on production. I'd like to take this time to mention that technically the spelling of the Kinyarwanda word for "chief" is "Mutware." However, due to an R/L substitution it is pronounced "Mutwale." Having studied enough Japanese to feel strongly that Romanization is a load of crap however you cut it, I've decided to spell it closer to the phonetic pronunciation than the colonial-influenced Romanized form.

The film itself! It seems like I've stuck in prepro for ages but if one cuts corners in this phase one will to pay for it later with mistakes in everything from blocking to prop continuity. Animation isn't immune to the problems that show up in Live Action- though most animators treat the medium like a sandbox with very few constraints. This makes sense- it's one of the strengths of animation- but often the story falls back behind the craft. I will likely rant on this later.

This is not how I roll. I just hit my 5th thumbnail book and the end is in sight. The story is cohesive, engaging, endearing, and best of all, it pulls no bloody punches. Don't get me wrong- I love things by, say, Disney, but you have to admit the worldview of the Magic Kingdom's films is pretty naïve.

I've been working on thumbs for this story since Oct2008. Not every day. Not even every week (gotsta get paid, son!) but little by little it's been coming together. Usually I race through thumbs and hit quickly-drawn boards in order to get an animatic going as soon as possible. Here though, I never wrote a script and therefore thumbs have become crucially important to breaking the production down into a proper workflow. Not only this, I'm trying something new by doing all the boards digitally with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro. I don't go for vector-based software very often but this is a nice little suite that offers layer-based single frames, script importing and dialogue/script note per-frame options, realtime playback, multiple timeline schematics, sound import, simple camera move playback, etc etc on and on. My favorite thing about this software, and the only reason I switched over from tradish storyboards, is that once you're finished boarding you've practically got a finished animatic. From there you can time and pace everything out and get an accurate running time for each shot. No scanning, no composites, no renders, no extra files and folders. My one complaint is that the frame cache is limited to 25 and the performance of the software is a bit slow for running on the desktop I've got. Lots of colored-pinwheel beachball spinning between frames.

In any case, the story is nearly locked- and it's looking good. Real good. My largest concern at this point is the length of the thing. I'm aiming (hoping, praying) for under 12 minutes. Thus far I think it's... Not under 12 minutes.


Sketchbook: Warmups, More Fishermen

Often my daily warmups yield morsels that can grow into new paintings or projects. I think this is because warmups don't have the immediate restrictions of concept. I've noticed my experimental roots are really starting to split rock. In particular my obsession with the neurological sparks spread by optical illusion. It's like a visual form of garden path parsing. Often artists that use advanced optics become pigeonholed as novelties but if one looks to Italian futurism or even some cubism, the illusory confundus is a recurring techinique. I <3 it with so much <3tred.

In any case, to replace that last round of the fisherman, which I find less than inspired, this latest round from the sketchbook is getting closer in both anatomical and stylistic choices.