Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Web Progress

Working on my site this weekend revealed some surprising results: I actually understood some of it! This is my second class on web-design, and so far the whole process is still a mystery to me. I have learned 5 programs in the last year and a half, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, and After Effects... plus Powerpoint, but Dreamweaver has remained my Waterloo.

The real problem, probably the root of the problem, is that I have absolute zero tolerance for computer geeks and self-involved and self-indulgent programmers who are so obliviously incapable of communicating and functioning in the real world that they can't even design a system usable by anyone outside of their twisted way of thinking. The whole internet and web-design thing is as senseless as algebra. Rules, rules, rules that don't hake any sense to rational people, and more rules. The shortest distance between two points is not even part of this world. Web-designers and programmers think like Dafy Duck did in that famous scene from "Duck Dodgers" where he outlined that insane route to planet X.

The other problem is that of all the things I have learned, this is the one area I just don't give a shit about, the one area I hope to god I don't have to toil in to make a living.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


March 22nd, my birthday.

They're usually depressing affairs, or usually were, but as of the past few years my birthdays have been marked by adventures and developments, like living and traveling overseas. This birthday had gone by more or less uneventfully until this potential new video client popped up in my messages box on YouTube.

The truth is that the only times my birthdays are depressing are when I concentrate on the social significance of the numbers attached to them. In other words, I seem to be getting older and poorer at the same time... but at least now I can look back and say I have done a lot of remarkable things. That helps take the sting out of the ever increasing numbers.

The lesson here is to focus more on living a life that will leave me content on my deathbed rather than focusing on the way the years seem to slip by. I try and keep up with my life, or as my Carnie buddy used to say... "Move at the speed of life." Each individual dictates their own speed, no matter how much adversity they experience. For me, drastic decisions have had to be made, intensely stressful, but decisions that have led to:

Living in South Korea
Eating dinner with monks in the mountains of South Korea
Performing music all over
Swimming with a dolphin
SCUBA diving
Enjoying girls in the Philippines
Traveling in Thailand
Being an illegal immigrant in Concepcion Chile
Making art
Getting Paul McCartney to talk about me
Doing art for DC Comics, LucasFilm, Dungeons and Dragons
Surviving cancer
Surviving crime
Watching friends die
Letting go
Becoming less selfish
Running away to join the carnival
Going bankrupt and losing our house
Doing things NOW!!!

This is all I have, might be all I get. There's no sense spending the whole time wondering where it all went, I'd rather wonder where I'm going next.

News From the Fireman

I got amazing news today...

First a bit of back story. I'm a big fan of McCartney's obscure and experimental stuff. He's been in this band with Youth (from Killing Joke) and they call themselves The Fireman. I've made a number of videos for McCartney and Fireman songs just for fun, somehow a friend of Youth's discovered my videos and wants me to work with him. This is exciting on a number of levels: It's gonna be a great professional sample for my digital portfolio, the music is gonna be great to work with, and it'll get me that much closer to Youth and McCartney.

You can find this stuff at:



look up Kuba Monk Dusk on YouTube.

The problem is that I'm so damn distracted I won't be able to focus all day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Animation Research




OK, I've looked and I can't seem to find the same pics I had used when I was researching landing and impact sequences for my animation sequence, but the above are fairly close to what I had found. Though internet research was only a small part of the resources I used. I was more interested in watching video one frame at a time.

Here's the dilemma... I want the sequence and action to be somewhat stylized and a little more balletic, yet natural enough to be believable. I'm not sure that's possible with the drawing style I have chosen. I am afraid I am going to have to be something of a slave to reality. This will require some rethinking, redrawing, and restoryboarding... but only AFTER I create a few demo animations to see what looks right and what doesn't.

I have become obsessed with the final product as an artist, creating ONLY images that will be in print or showable. Unfortunately a lot of learning to animate is going to require a ton of behind the scenes work and redrawing that will be "thankless." Perhaps this is an impatience on my part.

Another issue is my expectations, I expect my freshman effort as an animator to be as strong as the best of Disney... you know, that company that at one time had hundreds of the best artists in the world who had devoted their lives to mastering the art of animation, a company that had unlimited resources, live-action studies, and unlimited budget. Yeah, I expect the first animation sequence I ever created... all by myself... to be that good.

That's not healthy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Semester Progress

So far this semester the real progress has happened in the animation process. Learning to animate has been something of a life-dream. I am hoping that within my animation demo to hit upon all 12 of the principles of animation.

So far I have learned that, perhaps, the most important principle is "Anticipation." I had originally had the anticipation cell wrong. Of course, I was able to use the "cell," but what we discovered was that it was not the right cell to really deliver the proper anticipation, the pose was not extreme enough to be the critical anticipation cell. The solution was to create a new anticipation cell that was far more extreme than what I had initially imagined. The other key element was not only the pose itself, but timing.

The relation between the anticipation cell and the action itself is also important. Big actions require big anticipations, at least, to my knowledge so far.

Timing has also been of critical importance. Timing alone can also make or break the believability of an action... even if the drawings are all spot-on.

Research as also been terribly important. Making shit up just doesn't work. It never has and never will, and when trying to create believable motion, it is of major importance. Research should be the 13th principle.

The research I have used so far has been:

1) Viewing all the falling, jumping, and landing sequences I could in normal and slow motion speed, in live-action films as well as animated movies of various qualities.

2) Practicing the action itself in the physical world.

3) Looking for still images of the motion I am trying to recreate.

4) Creating test-loops to study my animation.

5) Getting a second opinion.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Web-Design Schmeb-Design

Originally this blog was supposed to be about web-design, but thus far it has been a meditation on how boring the web has become. So, let's talk about things that actually are interesting, for a start, Flash and/or animation.

The West Virginia Flash Animation Festival is coming. Google that if you want to see the crummy entries from last year. I had considered entering, the problem is they want "original music" or music to which I can get permission from the copyright holder. Well... I don't have that, but I did notice that one of the winners from last year used a friggin' Monkee's song--besides the fact that the piece was not terribly strong in my opinion.

So, yes, it would be possible for me to clean up in Flash festivals, but I suspect they will all be looking for music that I own or can get permission to use.