Borystoards: Modest Milestone

I am tired.

Passed shot 100 this evening, and this has put me just past the 7:00 mark.

Have I mentioned how mazing it will to be to finish boards and have a full animatic that has been completed simultaneously?

The days are just packed.


Music (aforementioned)

It's been requested that I post that music track I've recorded- I don't really know html so I'm uncertain the best way to embed an MP3 here in my blog.

In the meantime, enjoy this dancing hamster. Wait. Aha! I found something. Thanks Odeo embeddable player. There's no need for a Hamtaro gif. You're safe. FOR NOW.

Play it loud. Comments of course welcome- I'm not entirely set on the chord progression but I'm pretty happy with the voice/oscillators. (I think 2 voices @ 2 oscillators = 4 oscillators.) There's a pop or two when the higher-velocity base notes hit, I'm going to clean those up later.

In other news, my brand new Sakura Electric SE-2000 Portable Cordless Handheld Eraser arrived in the mail today! w00t. The first in a line of materials shipments. Things are happening. I am giddy.

I lied. You've been exposed to a Ham-Ham.


Storyboards Continued, Some Light Music

Research has its merits but in this instance it was a real pain. I started thumbs back in October of 2008 so there's a sequence or two that I discovered simply wouldn't work. Logistically, there would've been no elder elephant population in Akagera when my group of younglings arrived, so I had to rework some things. It's for the best because Mutwale gets more development this way- but deviating from the thumbs put me in a tight spot- momentarily. It's hard to mess with a timeline about an elephant Family's development so I ended up cutting a big chunk and replacing it. Slight detour.

In other news my synth-tastic synthesizer, an Ensoniq FiZmO and I had a session concerning this very film. I've had some ideas for music but I'd really not laid anything down. Until today! Simple chord progression with pretty advanced waveforms and some intensive EQ'ing yielded a little gem. I don't think it's fit for final but it's a good start and at the very least a solid reference.


Industry Rant: The Animation Sandbox

Here's the thing about animation.

It's fun, it's quirky, it lets the creator do just about anything. One can turn humans to liquid or a dog and cat duo into incredibly emotive lead characters.

The biggest strength of animation is also its biggest pitfall. All this freedom- essentially telling stories without the constraints of the natural physical universe- well sometimes that leaves the story out to dry and the viewer is left with a running demo reel.

Take the film "Sorry I'm Late." It's a gorgeous, fun, creative little romp. Check out the behind-the-scenes work- a whole pro crew, a slew of props and techniques, test shoots, casting, lighting. And for what? A play reel. It's quirky and creative, sure, but at the end of the day the film isn't actually about anything. It's literally a jaunt from an undisclosed point A to an undisclosed point B. No discernible reason for the trip and so there's really no reason for me to care. It's eye candy. Actually, it's more like eye fast food. An excuse to go play in a sandbox. And honestly? You might as well skip the pro budget and be these guys. It's less expensive and just as fun.

You can spot a similar trend with some of the leanings of the shorts of le Gobelins.

A quirky setup, a big chase with Rube Golberg style situational escalations and gags, then finally a payoff. Nothing too engaging and certainly no emotion or thought beyond some good solid laughs. And of course there's nothing wrong with a few laughs now and again.

I love Oktopodi. It got an Oscar nod last year.

I'll end with a counterexample. Pat Smith, a cool dude by any standard (I used to work at his studio so yeah, shameless plug) and his work is pretty wicked. A simple film like Handshake (one of my favorites of his) shows how in a few short minutes, with one location and two characters interacting, an entire story can really unfold. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Sparks. Muddled existential dual identity crises. Relationship clashes, woes, humanity. Over and out. Rinse. Repeat.

It's not too innovative and the style is recognizable to the point of being familiar- but it's an original take on something timeless. And most importantly, the story is present both on the surface and between the lines.

In any case, everyone's a critic, and I'm no exception. I've been trying to put my money where my mouth is for years (which is hard with little to no resources) so-- no day like today! Until the next, I suppose.

Storyboards Continue

Pushing on ahead with the boards. Everything is going well now that my system is back up, and I discovered a nifty little OSX clone tool that happens to be free/donation-ware. (Support it if it works.) I've been doing root user backups but I've really been dying to find something incremental. I've got a redundant clone going now so hopefully everything should be kept ship-shape if the worst strikes again. *knocks wood*

I'm currently on shot 57, which puts the film at 00:03:57:12 and it's looking to roll over into minute 4 any panel now. I'm still jumping between books 1 and 2 of the thumbnails- eager to hit that stride where everything progresses in an orderly fashion. If any part of production can indeed be described so.

And now I'm off to find myself in the strange position of scanning/taking macro photos of sugarcane stalks. Textures needed.


Of Macs and Men Pt. II

So there I was. Staring straight at my monitor in disbelief, unmoving. Like a parent approaching a new but not entirely unexpected situation with a problem child: Not angry, just disappointed.

My G5 suffered catastrophic system failure last week for the 5th time. For the third time in 5 years, OSX suffered a fatal crash that permanently dismounted the system drive. While 5 years seems like a good run, let me explain something: This HD was brand new, installed in January of this year. I'm beginning to think that it was simply a dud from Seagate, but then it was also a root user restore, which means any existing permissions problems would have carried over. Of course I back up often but that's not the point. And certainly I prefer it to the previous issues with this machine: constant Kernel Panics due to a faulty Logic Board (which has been replaced twice and still doesn't want to recognize DV firewire signals from the tower ports. Yes, the firewire bus is tested and working.)

It's pretty well known that Macs have the hardware issues, PC's have the software issues, and Linux users laugh at everyone. But this Mac- my Mac- is from a batch of bad Apples (heh) from 2004. Second gen, first issue liquid cooled G5's that were rushed out the door to fill orders for the first gen machines. (I ordered a first gen machine, not in time to avoid being screwed.) These are the G5's from hell. Before they went out the door, they gave Steve Jobs cancer. They were christened with the blood of sacrificed goats, washed clean with the bile of Hedonism demons, and delivered to the doorstep of unsuspecting professionals everywhere.

In any case, yes, 5 years is a good run and most PC users would say it's about time for a new machine because, DUDE, yer hardware is like SO out of date. But the simple fact is that it's not. I built a monster 5 years ago and it's still up to the task of some of the most advanced compositing and animation tasks you can throw at it. It's just never been stable hardware, and that's entirely Apple's fault.

Sure, it's a PPC chipset that can't run most of the latest and greatest upgrades, but 1)it runs the last generation- CS2, CS3, Final Cut Studio 2- just fine and 2)the latest and greatest will likely have its own issues for a year or two, not to mention a modicum of superficial upgrades that I don't need. I'm fine running what I do, it gets the job done. When it works.

Will my next computer be a mac? Yes. Am I going to rush into a new chipset and order an early generation build before all the kinks are worked out? Absolutely not. Never. Again.

So this time, I'm running an internal scratch drive and installing only the software I need to use immediately. Regular permissions repairs with advanced third party disk utility software should keep this puppy rolling for another year or two, which is all I need.

But yeah. No posts recently because there's not been any work recently. Tech's a bitch.