I want to be able to write and update here more often, but I just can't pull myself away from this silly project. The good news is it looks like it's actually going to get done this weekend. Can't wait to have this all over with.
Friday, May 30, 2008
I want to be able to write and update here more often, but I just can't pull myself away from this silly project. The good news is it looks like it's actually going to get done this weekend. Can't wait to have this all over with.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I had a pretty fun weekend. Friday I was witness to performer Takao Kawaguchi's one man show "A Perfect Life." It was very different than things they usually show down in the atrium of the student center.
Everyone did a great job putting it together, and a lot of people showed up, so I would say that the night was a big success! On Saturday I had my entire Japanese class over to my apartment, save for one person, and we all made a ton of Japanese food, ate, and enjoyed each other's company for the night. It was a lot of fun.
Well Sunday and Monday were devoted to getting back into reality and back into Track and Failed. Tonight is Tuesday and I'm standing at two shots left to be completed, a dream sequence to be rendered, and putting it all together is all that stands in my way to finishing. Tomorrow I have a final animation critique with my adviser then the following 5 days will be non stop work and finishing. I would like it to be done on Monday, since Tuesday it must be submitted for the film festival. I'm just looking forward to being able to start something new.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I have 3 shots left to complete, and then I have to pretty up the dream sequence. It's all so close to getting done, and I just know we're gonna run into a huge snag on the way here. I'll be sure to let everyone know when happens.
Yup, 3 of the most difficult shots are lest. 20 second long shot, being flung back on stilts and planting face first into the ground after a pair of malfunctioning rocket boots. I really hope the animation lab in the student center is open tomorrow, I really need to just get this done.
Because I'm at the point now where it just needs to be done. Need to move forward! :)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I got my stupid essay done! It turned out pretty bad, but better than I was expecting, so that's one small weight off of me. Only 3 more papers, two tests, two movies, and a translation now stand between me and graduation. I think I can do it.
Also I got some good ideas for revamping the dream sequence in "Track and Failed," so hopefully soon I will be able to put those into motion.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I have a hard trouble understanding sometimes. As much as I love learning Japanese, and as happy as all the friends I've made in Japan makes me, and how much I love speaking the language, I just can't understand why I can't force myself to speak it anymore. Maybe it's shame that I feel my abilities have decreased since coming back from Hokkaido. But I think they've actually gotten better. It's irritating at times, since so often I just want to speak Japanese, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
It would help to go back again. I love being in situations where I don't have a choice and have to do my best in. I always do top performance at those times.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I'm having a weird day.
Everything started normally enough, though I slept in a little longer than I wanted which meant that I had less time to go jogging by the lake, which in turn made me both late for class and forced me to skip breakfast. So, I spent the better part of class nodding off and taking really bad notes, but this is still nothing new. I sleep in that class all the time. After it was out, I decided I wanted to take a couple block walk to go get a pita, which is really rare for me. I almost always decide just to go to my apartment and eat there for lunch.
So, I walked to the Pita Pit, walked inside and there were a bunch of people on laptops and stuff, and it seemed like they were being taught how to do something. Anyways, I was planning on eating there in the restaurant, but right after I order, about 20 people walk in, backing up the line to the front door and totally filling the place to capacity, with me thinking, wow I got here right in time. But then it also made me decide to just take it back to my apartment and eat there. So I walk to the exit door, which is now being blocked my two DePaul college girls who seemed to think they had no obligation to move a little out of the way of the door. So, I had to mega-ly awkwardly, yet as politely as possible, nudge my way through, which of course still managed to garnish some very dirty looks from them.
No sooner did I more or less burst and collapse through the front door did I run into my Japanese teacher, who was passing by, apparently from picking up her own lunch from somewhere else. She looks at me, we exchange a rather awkward "konnichiwa" and she keeps walking forward with me lagging an uncomfortable 6-8 feet behind, not knowing what to say or what language to say it in. I have a whole 'nother discussion about this topic for a later time. Now, her office and my apartment are on the same street, so I decided I didn't want to continue this following any longer than I had to, so I took the first separating right I could which leads back to campus, and decided to eat at the student center instead. So I take the turn, and my Sensei continues walking straight.
Again, upon completing my 90 degree turn into a new direction, do I see another familiar face. A total self-absorbed douchebag from my animation classes is walking right towards me, about 50 or so feet away. I think to myself "ughh...oh well I guess I'll just say hi" and continue on. We walk until we're into greeting range and I crack a small fake smile and begin to raise my hand and open my mouth when he says, rather loudly yet inaudibly, something I could only perceive to be "STILL PACKING THE SALT THERE, GREG?" To which, with the exception of my feet which kept walking, my body froze, thinking about what the hell it was he just said to me, and if it was even directed to me, since I couldn't be sure because he was wearing sunglasses. We passed, me still in too much in a state of awkward shock after this what I can only describe as a verbal attack to my blue collar alter-alias Greg, and he slightly turned his head to me and mine to his. I mustered a weak and barely audible "...what?" before we both had walked far enough away from each other and that was that.
So there you have it, crowds led me to leave the restaurant which led me to run into jp teacher which led me to change directions, which led me to a very awkward greeting. Ate my pita at the student center as planned. While exiting there were some of those "Hey, can I talk to you for a second?" activist people outside as always, which I avoided but they flagged down some girls by going "Excuse me miss, you dropped something!" Then when they turn around he went "Can I ask you a question?" Lolz, jerk.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Again, I want to be a better drawer. I had a similar feeling to this when I took a pre-production art class in the winter quarter of 2007. We were assignment to create blogs for that class and one of my posts were about the importance of drawing in any kind of creative medium, but ESPECIALLY animation. My teacher actually saw that post and emailed me some awesome suggestions as to how to improve my drawing skills. From then on I went out and bought a bunch of books on the art of human anatomy, drawing for comics, perspective, etc and did a pretty decent job of following them for the most part. Then spring hit and I got super busy with animation then summer his and I got super busy with being in Hokkaido, and then fall hit and I got super busy with senior year. Taking this classes that don't matter to me.
Yeah upon graduating and finally losing all these required classes, I want to concentrate on drawing and continuing to advance my studies of Japanese. Even when I think about what I want to go on to study for grad school, I would much rather do either Japanese or something more related to drawing or story creating. I just don't have the passion for animation to continue to want to study it. And I hope it doesn't sound narcissistic, but I think I can continue animation by my self. I really just wanna study Japanese and practice drawing.
This is going to be a very interesting summer. I hope I can find some cool Japanese classes or something. I have countless books on learning Japanese too, I can definitely get some use out of those.
Or Procrastination. It's an interesting thing. Right now I'm sitting in the school library and I'm supposed to be writing a paper on a man named Jose Guadalupe Posada, who was a Mexican engraver and artist in the 19th century. I need to fill 5 to 6 pages with information on analyzing the assigned article on him, and then explaining the influence he carried into the 20th century. Here's a small example of the kind of work he does:
I kinda like his style. It seems almost all his work is skeletons which he made to satirize the government at the time. The problem is I really have no interest in how he influenced upcoming artists into the next century. Based on all the art classes I've taken and even a few of the animation ones, it seems like the academic art world is obsessed with how artists influenced the up and coming artists. Like for a medium that pretty much defines creativity they seem to like to try to dissect it and reveal just how unoriginal the art world really is. Or it's also entirely possible that I'm totally missing the point of people who are art scholars.
Also, paper writing is something that always gives me worlds of trouble. When I entered college, I considered myself a fairly capable writer when it came to essays. There's no way I'd even try to say that now. I've fallen into the normal college student loop where I procrastinate until the night before it's due, and just through any of the first things that come to mind on the page.
I've also been thinking a lot today about procrastination on a longer time line, withing the context of my own life. It seems like for college students, writing papers is what we're kinda supposed to do. Research a wide range of topics and write papers about them. Papers, papers, papers. I don't do any of this research, so all these papers don't really get done either. I think this is part of the reason (a very small part, I hope) that I stick with animation and Japanese so hard. We are rarely if ever required to write papers, and it rocks. But I'm wondering if this is just an extended method of procrastination on my part. Like maybe the issue is, I'm telling myself that "I want to do research in Japanese, but wait! I don't know Japanese" so now I'm procrastinating doing this research necessary for growing into the next step in life, by studying Japanese. Once I learn Japanese to a native level, will I then grow to desire to go to Japan and research there? Who knows. I hope not.
I got a new camera for my birthday. And tomorrow is a rehearsal/lunch thing for a visual artist coming to DePaul this week through the Japanese department, so I should have some good opportunities this week to take some interesting photos. I can tell that my Japanese teacher, who has been organizing this entire event, has been working very hard and this is very important to her, so I will do my best. I hope it turns out to be interesting. I've been needing to do something. Life has been starting to hit routine as of late.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Last night immediately after class, I went to CTI and animated until 10pm. Then I went back to my apartment and pretty much went right to bed. Woke up, ran to class which ended at noon, then came straight back to CTI, ready to animate again. All day. Tonight and tomorrow will probably be the same. I have absolutely no plans this weekend other than animating.
I do like animation, but I don't love it this much. I enjoy drawing and making stories much more.
Keep with it Keep with it Keep with it.
Edit: Copyright 1968? Hmm, determined or not, that cat must be long dead. That's kind of a downer...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
So I've been told recently that my main weakness in animation is the following 3 things, all of which also happen to be incredible important principles of good animation:
2. movement change-1 frame transition
3. I'm too slow
The easiest of these for me to go through quick and fix up is the speed one. It won't be too bad for me to go through a few key points and just speed it up a bit. There is especially one shot where I try to make the character jump and it just look terrible. It's really all about timing.
As for tracking, this is really all about watching the hips and make sure the motion, as a whole, look not only smooth and fluid, but also pleasing to the eye. It's another issue related to speed, in a small part. For example, I have many parts in my movie where the character is moving from point A to point B. If he is accelerating to point B, then he needs to move towards it faster and faster. But my character will occasionally move at a constant rate, which is boring or he will vary his speed, which ends up looking weird. The same with the reverse if he is decelerating. On top of that, it's very important to have this movement look nice. The easiest way to do this is have him move in nice smooth arcs, so I'm trying to use a LOT of circular movements out of him. And indeed, it does look better.
Finally number 2, this one frame transition business. When the character changes a movement, does something different, or make any kind of change at all, the very first movement is the absolutely most important. It's the one split second the audience is given to be aware that something new is happening, and even though they will never see this one frame, they will feel it. The clearest example I can give of this is that I have a scene where the runner is attached to a pair of stilts which fall to the ground, causing the stilts to bend kind of like a catapult. The runner reaches towards the ground but in the end is only rocketed backwards into the sky. So in that one shot, there are two main movements: Reaching for the ground and being rocketed back. He's off in the horizon in about 6 frames so I don't have a lot of time to give a great impression of what's happening. So, I'm going to test out one frame in between the two movement where his body is rocketed backwards, but his head and arms remain in their same position, causing a mighty painful stretch. After one or two frames of this, I'll have his head and arms leave as well. It should make things a little more impactfull and hopefully even get a laugh.
I'm not sure if this stuff is advanced animation or still basic, but there are about a million things you have to keep in mind while animating. It's tough. Really tough. Even if you see the perfect animation in your head, translating that to a piece of paper or your computer screen is one of the most difficult things out there.
Well, not that I've reviewed these 3 things in my head, I shall return to animating!
The guy I got to do music for my short, Malarkey-san, has sent it to me yesterday! And the best part is, it doesn't suck!! For the most part, it captures all the feelings and stuff that I wanted very well, so it's gonna be really fun to see the finished movie. It's really starting to feel like it's all coming together now, my adviser also said yesterday when I met with him that we're finally starting to see a film here. So yeah I look forward to it's release date. Which, by the way, as now absolutely set in stone:
This is the last date to submit things for the DePaul Digital Cinema Premiere film festival, which is on Saturday June 8th. Also, this is going to be the first animated short film to ever have been showed or come out of DePaul, so I really hope that we can set a pretty decent standard for future starry eyed students to want to achieve. Also, I think I've decided on a new title "Track and Failed." I was thinking before that having the word 'fail' in the title of something might have subconscious psychological reasons to not do that, but now I'm thinking that it is both funny and fits better as to what's going on in the story, so lets go with Track and Failed. We're gonna start doing the final renders this weekend, we have hopes to have an entire scene finished, but at the very least we need a few shots. That June 3rd deadline is creeping up quickly, and I still have a lot of shots that need major animation tweaks!!
I wish I was a better animator, but that's one of the many projects that I intend to work on this summer. 11 second club, bay-bee!!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I have a quiz tomorrow on Mahayana Buddhism. I have no idea what Mahayana Buddhism is. It's a shame I didn't take this class like in a different year because I think if I did I would find it much more interesting. Buddhism is a pretty cool "religion," it seems pretty in line with most of my personal beliefs.
History of Latin American Art might just be the dullest class I've ever taken, ever. That class is really tough to sit through for a full hour and half twice a week. She rambles on and on about how something like this:
Is such a wonderful and expressively luscious piece of art and blah blah blah no it's not. I can't believe there are people who dedicate their lives to studying art. Hats off to them, I guess. There is no way I could live through life looking at these kind of paintings, then writing long and drawn out papers about them. Yeesh.
Then there's dramatic theory of comedy. This might very well be the best class I've ever taken at DePaul, in no small part because of the fascinating subject matter and a wonderful professor. He's so rolly polly and greets us everyday with a smile and a "hello everybody! good to see you again." It's just amazing how little 'I'm a human too and your friend so lets have some fun' things like this will add SOOO much to looking forward to and paying attention in class. And then we just both listen to his lectures on and discuss anything and everything related to funny. And it was the first time in my life where I actually enjoyed taking the midterm exam (and I got a 99 on it!!) We watched a bunch of Chris Rock last week, and this week we watched I Love Lucy. I found out today that when Lucille Ball got pregnant with Desi Jr., they weren't allowed to say 'pregnant' on the show because of it's sexual connotations so they always called her 'expecting' or 'future mother Lucy.' And also there was a huge national special the night the aired the episode where she gave birth to Little Ricky. On top of that, Lucille Ball scheduled a caesarean section the that very same night. That strikes me as both kinda cool and really really creepy.
So yeah, those are the classes I'm taking that aren't animation or Japanese. About 80% of my effort goes into those two classes, with about 80% of that going into animation. I hope that works out in the end. I'm really looking forward to being done with college and free to do whatever the hell I want.
Sorry I haven't updated in a while! Busy weekend I guess. Friday I went to a Cubs game with a bunch of friends at is was a lot of fun. It's amazing how incredibly popular Fukudome is. There were headbands and T-shirts everywhere. It was quite amazing. Afterwards I saw Speed Racer which was about as good as I thought it would be. It was fun to watch, I did get bored on more than a few occasions, but overall it wasn't terrible. It barely made $20 million this weekend, so the WB is pretty screwed. I guess the CEO might even get fired.
So, right now, my contact is rolling around in my left eyeball so looking at things is a little awkward but I will do my best to continue typing.
I'm back in the animation lab tonight. I promised my adviser I'd have all animation done on my short by tomorrow, and I'm not quite gonna make that, but it's gonna be close. It's coming along nicely though, here's a video of about what the final rendered character will look like:
The hair will be fixed, but if that's what the final render (background included) will look like, I'm pretty excited to see the finished movie. Hopefully within a week we'll have at least one completed shot rendered out. It sucks that this weekend is my birthday and I'm going to need the whole time to perfect animation as best I can. Oh well. I should have better final character renders tonight, so lets upload those then.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
I talked to my adviser today to make sure everything is ok and ready to go for me to graduate, but apparently there is a technicality where, even though they tell us that a year of a language can be substituted for ANY liberal arts class, the ethics requirement is off limits. My adviser was much more upset about this than I was since not even he knew about it, but at least he assured my that we're gonna solve the problem and I won't have to go to school an extra quarter for one stupid ethics class. But now I gotta write a really professional email to the guy in charge of credits and, super politely and rhetorically, let him know that I'm screwed and that DePaul sucks at advertising this "modern language" option. I hate writing big-boy emails. Ugh.
Oh well, at least this song is still kinda fun:
Also, it's kinda funny that I really didn't appreciate Black Sabbath's Iron Man until I saw the movie involving the super hero with the same name. But man, this music rocks. Ozzy used to be such a badass. I don't care what any one else thinks, the greatest music ever made happened in the 60's and 70's. Actually there's probably a lot of people who would agree with me there. It's the one reason I would have loved growing up during that time. It would be so awesome to be wastedly stoned so hard, listen to this song, and then freak-the-hell-out:
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This movie has a 33% on rotten tomatoes with a 0% for top critics. When I first saw the trailer a few months ago I remember thinking, "wow, this looks really really stupid," then over the coming weeks I got a little more excited about because my roommates were so excited about it, but now after seeing all these reviews I think I'm back to thinking that it's going to suck like wow. Like it seems like it's not even awesome bad, it's just 2 hours 15 minutes of super bright colors, motion lines, and a bunch of other crap that no one save for anime geeks and children will understand. I'll probably still wind up seeing it on Friday, but I'd just like to go on record saying my expectations are back to like...nothing. Originality has never seemed to be the Wachowski Brother's forte, they really seem to be fond of "borrowing" almost everything they're known to be cool for from anime.
I'll bet they're really nerdy to hang out with. And not in the good way.
Also, I don't think this movie has been advertised nearly they way it should have. It cost over $100 million to make...I'm very interested to see how much it makes this weekend. I don't think there are any non anime dork adults interested in seeing this movie. I'll bet Iron Man beats it.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Man this job in the animation lab is terrible. Especially when I'm in the labs that can't run Maya on Tuesday nights. Arghh. So, I've been doing some translating. Maybe I should make this blog all about animation and japanese. It could be like my Japanese Animation blog! Nyaaar!!!
Anyways, come last week in May, Hurdles (or "Track and Fail") will be completed and I'm already starting to think about what I wanna do next. I've learned a ton about making stories and I know that if I were to give it another shot, I could make something a whole lot better. Maybe I'll start posting some ideas up hear for stories. When I try to do another short, I would want it to have a good story this time.
But yeah, next time, lets have more characters, more places to go, and maybe even...dialog??
Pete, as the current only person who is reading this blog, you are welcome to throw out ideas. Right now I'm thinking we do the age old tale of an old-timer fisherman having his final battle with the legendary fish he swore to one day catch!!
Hmm...I've been thinking today that in about 6 weeks, I will have graduated and will be forever done with DePaul University. But this is kinda different then what I was close to finishing up high school since when that was happening, I knew that I was doing to be going to DePaul. I've known that for like 8 months before I started going here. But now, once I graduate I have no plan, no prospects, nothing! I've been thinking about what would be good to do about this; I've thought about grad school, finding a job to pass the time until I find a better one, or even just spending some time back at home until I figure things out. But then I thought, why the hell would I want to do any of those things? I'll be 22 years old, still young, and freed upon the world, able to do whatever I want to. Those kind of opportunities don't happen often in life, if ever. There are so many things I would love to go do, and they all will slowly start to disappear once I start getting older and older, so I'm feeling that wasting these kind of chances would be a huge tragedy.
I have a friend who is going to Japan for a year next year to teach English to middle and high schoolers for at least a year (but surely more) and I was wondering if I could get into that. I think being a teacher and growing close to a class of students would be awesome, but then again I know too many people who decide to do these "teach English in Asia" programs after graduation and then get stuck in them until their late 20's. I wouldn't want to do it for any longer then a year. I also think it would be awesome to eventually look into getting a masters degree in Japan somewhere. Anyways, the moral of the story is: I wanna go to Japan again! If anyone has some extra money, let me know and I will take it.
I also still might have the option of going to San Francisco. That would be fun too, it would be a good place to both continue my study of Japanese, continue my study of animation, and be totally totally gay. And snobby.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I have a 'job' at the animation lab in the computer building of my school. The idea is that I sit up here and help out people with their assignments and stuff. Like I think I'm supposed to periodically get up and walk around, asking if anyone needs any assistance or anything like that. I totally don't though. I usually spend this time working on my short animation. That short is a whole another story in itself though. Maybe I'll make another post about that tonight.
ANYWAYS, the animation lab here just got a new Wacom Cintiq tablet monitor and man is it ever sexy. Every time I work here I quickly go to hog it. I don't ever use the tablet feature, I only use it as a double monitor, but it's still awesome. He look, here it is now!
This picture is courtesy of the DePaul gaming development website.
Anyways, I really should be working on my project. There is a total of 39 shots to animate and I have a crap pass done on all but about 3 or 4, which I intend to do tonight. Right when I finish writing this blog post, which I'm currently using as a form of procrastination. Here's a screen shot of the character. That background's not done yet. If it was I'd be in trouble:
Tim, my roommate and guy in charge of lighting/texturing/rendering is working on getting me a rendered shot now, he told me he'd have by Wednesday, so I'm expecting it around next winter. I am actually quite excited to see how it turns out.
Also, Iron Man made over 100 million dollars opening weekend. 84% of people who saw this movie gave it an A. 96% gave it an A or B. Wow, this thing is gonna be huge. Wait, it already is. I wonder if it'll hit a billion...it did rock. Hard. Short sentences.
EDIT: Of course, they're already talking Iron Man sequels. There are apparently now actually 4 in talks. That's right, a total of 5 Iron Man movies. lol.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I've tried to make blogs before but they always last maybe a month then begin to pitter out and finally you just stop completely. The good news is that now, at 4 posts, this blog is already longer then my previously longest blog, so that's at least assuring. A bit. My first blog was created out of an assignment in a class I took last year where all students had to create a blog. The second was when I was going to chronicle my adventures in Japan, but then I decided to forget about that one, too. That last one lasted about 5 days, I think.
I've been thinking about what the best way to make a blog that people would want to read, and that's really a tough one isn't it. I mean I'm not a celebrity, or even someone who is particularly known or respected in a given industry, so who would care to come see what I have to say? The most I can do is try to throw stuff out there that people would want to know more about, either coming straight from me or found on the internetz. Also the things I'm mostly interested in are things animation related and Japanese related. I'll post that kinda stuff a lot. Speaking of which, lets all take a look at this fun youTube:
The song kinda sucks but there's something about her walk that really intrigues me. Well, I'm off to bed now. First I will continue to study kanji through the following resource:
Edit: Wait one more thing: New Ikimono Gakari song "Blue Bird" is the new Naruto opening lol wtf I like this band.
That title is true, but this post is mostly so I can test out uploading videos to this blog. These are some particle simulation tutorials I did in Maya in December of 2006. Very very nerdy. I really wanna stick to making stories.
It looks pretty cool and I'm wondering if there is some way I can make it a little more "me" and create some kind of personal logo. It might be neat, but where I to do that, I would also need an organization name. Right now, I'm thinking lolTownhouse6 (thanks for the idea Pete, I think I'll come to you whenever I need ideas for names of things). It's colorful and nice. Actually I'm thinking now that I like the 2D logo's better anyways. Hm.
Also a side note, I've put up these two videos about 10 minutes ago and that little 'processing' thing has been rotating ever since. Hey it just stopped!
Still, I'm thinking it might be better just to link to youTube. We'll see.
Hmm...I'm thinking this blog will be mostly in English. Unless I manage to achieve a huge number of Japanese users who wanna hear me ramble in mediocre Japanese.
Before I try to get all you internet information seekers out there to want to read the things that I will be trying to tell you in the coming weeks, months, possibly years, I would like to give some small honors to a man. Not just any man, but a man who has revolutionized the entertainment industry. Some say through raw talent, others say through snobbery. But however you prefer to slice it, he is the inspiration for the title of this blog, and may or may not be responsible for some or many of its entries. But there is for sure one thing we can all agree on: he was in Syriana. I always remember watching those tv spots and trailers for this film and having no idea what it was about, other than something involving the middle east, but I was always comforted to know that no matter which trailer it was, I would be receiving one classic line from the film. Yes, Mr. Clooney, hearing your inquiry as to the reason you are being systematically studied was one of the few things I could always count on during the promotional period of this film, and I shall never forget it. I hated the actual film; thought it was boring as hell, but I did enjoy that line. Possibly too much.
Well, anyways, I declare this to be a normal blog. I shall talk about whatever is happening and try to give my own spin on it. Lets hope for the best.
Here's to you, Mr. George Clooney.