Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Apple a Day... #55 and 56

Parts XVIX and XX

Some notes on Parts XVIX and XX:
  • These two parts represent my attempt at slowing down the pacing of the story by using less panels per page. It works to a certain extent.
  • Part XVIX shows my attempt at playing with panel placement by using an insert panel. I like it but think the panel sort of gets lost in the details of the larger panel. (The rough versions of these two parts were in full color and the panel insert reads much better in color.)
  • There is something vaguely dirty about the way Robot is hugging Edward in Part XX. It was not intentional.
  • Part XX is the last time I reenforce the fact that Robot only wants a hug and is not, outwardly dangerous.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Apple a Day... #53 and 54

Parts XVII and XVIII

Some notes on Parts XVII and XVIII:
  • Right off the bat, the color of these two pages seems a bit weird despite them being the same hues I've been using all along. Or maybe it's just me, I don't know. The amount of time that passed since cleaning up XVI (something like 8 months) could probably be a contributing factor here.
  • I had really high hopes for that Zelda joke. Unfortunately, it never really gets properly implemented in later parts of the story (as we'll see soon enough).
  • Part XVIII features yet another Robot redesign. 
  • I was pretty happy I could bring back the VS split from Moustache. It also serves as a nod to the previous story (much like Edward's off hand mention of a bet in Moustache was a reference to The Bet.)
  • Boy, those yogurt bastards sure are dramatic aren't they? (Yes, Edward and his ilk are yogurt. Recently I read something which called him a stack of talking rocks with moss. It was kind of refreshing after years of hearing Edward being referred to as poop.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

IN PROGRESS: Balloon Cat - Revised Space

So, I wasn't happy with the previous Maya renders (as if it wasn't made clear in the last post), however, I hacen't given up the ghost yet. I decided to go back and remodel and stage everything, this time using paint effects and minimal lighting to try and achieve the look I'm after. Below is the result:

Already, this is a stark improvement over what came before. Some more tweaks are needed (for example, the stars a a bit too large) but it's definitely a step in the proper direction.  I figure, in terms of textures on the planets, I can craft something in Photoshop that I can map onto the Maya polygons that would help blend them in with my visual aesthetic. Also, when exporting the scenes for compositing, If I render them in layers, that would give me more control over individual tweaks I may need to make down the line. While playing with the lights, I got to experiment a bit with leaving the objects in the dark. When I turned the light off, I was presented with a scene that had some dark, almost cloaked objects, that helped break up some of the negative space in the shot. It was a nice little discovery (even if it is a bit obvious) that will benefit me later on when staging the shots leading up to the black hole.

The next thing that I need to focus on is getting the framing of the shots solidified. I have to take into account the cat's coloring and be attentive to his fading into the background textures. Some of this could be solved by decreasing the size of the stars, overall, but it will, probably, still take some figuring out. Wide shots are going to be a key aspect to some of these space scenes, however, they won't work if the cat blends in too much. So, I'm really going to have to nail this staging before I can proceed.

Looks like it's time to set up a 3D animatic for these shots.

Monday, November 12, 2012

IN PROGRESS: Balloon Cat - More Space shots.

So, despite the recent shift in focus to Robot, Balloon Cat is still in full swing, preproduction wise. Below, are two additional space shots I created, working from my terrible storyboards. These served two purposes: 1) To help me visualize these two shots in the proper aspect ratio, and 2) To provide a clearer understanding of the general aesthetic I wish to move towards with this film. (It has been painfully clear to me that I am, generally, terrible at explaining my internal processes to anyone. Hopefully these sort of things can help in that regard.)

Moving forward, I am considering creating the entirety of the galaxy in Maya in order to have more complex camera moves and whatnot. When it comes to animating the cat, I'll just rotoscope a stand in model that is placed in the scene in Maya. Doing the space (and, subsequently, the sky) shots like this will also make sure I have the cat in proper perspective when drawing him during these camera moves.

Now, an issue arises from this: I am not very good at using Maya. I'm proficient in the basic sense. But when it comes to having actual lighting, texturing, and mood, I'm a bit out of my element. However, with the winter break coming up, I can use the next six weeks or so to really brush up on those skills. (I'm not looking to do anything super complex with these Maya scenes, so a basic grasp of these techniques will probably suffice. Balloon Cat is, and will always be, a 2D animated film.)

Below is a test render from Maya that I did quickly. The first image is the scene directly from maya. The second is my attempt at enhancing it in Photoshop. Let's marvel, together, at how terrible these actually are:


As it stands right now, I really prefer the top two images. Despite their flaws, I believe they're better overall. Perhaps, I'll create the space in After Effects and only use Maya for the vortex and black hole (but, I'm getting ahead of myself, here. Black hole, what?).

An Apple a Day... #51 and 52

Parts XV and XVI

Some notes on Parts XV and XVI:
  • I had originally intended for the robot to talk. In fact, Part XV was completed with Robot's dialogue intact. It made him sound like a needy creeper, and I felt like it wasn't in keeping with his characterization up to this point. (He went from being a scary, brooding, shadow-cloaked menace to a needy, creepy, hug-demanding pervert. Trust me, it wasn't good.) I felt that keeping the robot a pantomime character would benefit his overall portrayal in the comic (after all, it's very easy to misread someone's action's when they cannot explain themselves (i.e. babies, animals, etc)).
  • Part XVI features two of my favorite renderings of Zordon. The first is when he has that smug smile on his face as the lightning bolt drops. The second is in the sixth panel. 
  • Part XVI also has the distinction of being a page that I feel looked better as a rough drawing. Some of the energy of the panels gets lost in translation from rough to cleanup but, for what ever reason, it's much more noticeable in this Part.
  • I still don't know what the hell is going on with Edward's hair. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Apple a Day... #49 and 50

Parts XIII and XIV

Some notes on parts XIII and XIV:
  • By the time part XIII was finished, I had realized that Zordon had become pretty repetitive in his description of "the power." It was something I noticed about the way Zordon would explain concepts to the Power Rangers in the tv show. He would constantly over-explain simple concepts (typical in a kid's show but, I mean, come on, man, get to the point!) So, I decided to have Edward call him out on it in part XIV.
  • The last panel of part XIII is, in my opinion, the best drawing of the command center I had done. It's success won't be replicated and, speaking with the blessing of foreknowledge, represents the point where many of my background drawings start to look like poo. (Not ALL of them, mind you. There are still some cracker jacks coming, just you wait.)
  • The purple text box bit in panel four of part XIV is a direct and shameless reference to the Legend of Zelda.
  • I'm not sure what's going on with Edward's hair in some of these panels. It's really all over the place. Also, the green coloring isn't very consistant from page to page (I think I eventually standardized it, but, who knows.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Apple a Day... #47 and 48

Parts XI and XII

Some notes on Parts XI and XII:
  • Part XI marks the beginning of Robot's second, The Solution.
  • The backgrounds in this act were some of my favorites to draw (despite there really only being, like, 6, different ones total).
  • The colorization of Edward's hair and eyes is symbolic for two reasons. The first is the obvious call out to his ranger color (much like how the Power Rangers would wear clothes that denote their ranger color when they were at school). The second reason will be revealed after the conclusion of Act Three.
  • Zordon is really fun to draw. He's basically a blob with a face.
  • I chose green to be Edward's ranger color because the Green Ranger was my favorite ranger as a kid.