Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time flies even when you're not having fun

And I thought the last gap was long! I'm amazed it's close to a year since I posted anything. I'd imagine anyone who might have been checking in here gave up long ago.

Not that it isn't common to see long breaks in the postings, especially with artistic types. It can be due to good things happening that take you away from it, or more unfortunate reasons. It's been more of the latter for me, but I've kept some progress up as well. The economic state hasn't been kind to me. Kinder than it's been to everyone who lost their jobs completely, but I was making more in 2008 than I have since then, and the slow leak of income has been snowballing ever since. Nothing like desperate conditions to give you that energy boost to make whimsical cartoons.

After a long bout of spending too much time biting my nails to use my hands to draw (well, figuratively), I've started making progress again. Earlier this year I started playing around with Blender, the free open source 3D software that's impressively robust and able to compete with Pixar stuff. I'm not abandoning 2D cell-style animation by any means, but it's another brush in the paintbox. I'll be using it to create background "sets" for "Money For Cheezums". I've gotten a feel for character modeling, rigging, and animating, but that's for other projects down the road. I wouldn't mind doing something with a "Puppetoons" feel, and I think CG could imitate that fairly well.

Naybob was largely created as a hand drawn "classic cartoon" type character. He's meant to constantly change and deviate from a basic set of defining elements. His specific look from shot to shot changes to reflect his mood swings, as well as giving me the ability to push each pose into unique takes on the design. That might be more difficult to pull off with a CG version. I'd like to see it done, I know it could be, but the work it would take to vary a character drastically for just one shot wouldn't be worth it in most cases.

Of course I tried setting one up anyway, but I did this at the beginning of learning the program, and moved on to other characters as I got better with it. So it's pretty rough here, and not posed at all, and it looks pretty stiff. I'm sure I'll get back to building a better one, but if I use it it might only be for an occasional shot or effect. Since one of my goals is to experiment with multiple animation approaches and styles mixed together, it can only help to have some CG skills. The models are also helpful as a tool to study tricky perspectives before drawing them. Like being able to make a virtual plastic toy version.

Here's the Naybob model as I left it so far:

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