Thursday, December 29, 2011


So after spending countless hours on developing a manga look for Duke vs. The Dead, I realize now, it’s not really the style I want. I like manga, but I don’t think it fits who I am.

Looking at the Vikky manga model, I feel like it’s a little generic, and not as interesting as I’d like. I think I’m going to go back to the original look I came up with, but I’m just not sure how I’m going to do it.

Last night I did a quick sketch of Vikky in the original style, but this drawing is more orthographic. Hopefully it will help me model her out. I guess we’ll see.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Parcel from France – Handcrafted Compassion.

I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard a knock on the door. I was wearing my bath robe and drying my hair as I peeked around the corner. It was the FedEx guy standing on my front porch with a box in his hands. He was looking for a signature. I opened the door, signed his digital tablet, and he handed me the box. 

It was a present from my friend Alexandria, shipped all the way from Lyon, France. She had told me that she was sending something, but it wasn't supposed to arrive for another few days. I was excited to see that it had gotten here early. 

I hung him over my bed. He watches over me as I sleep.
To my surprise, inside was a handcrafted piece of art she had made. It was a beautiful thought to think that someone had taken so much time to make something for me, I couldn’t help but smile. Even now, I’m at a loss for words to explain just how precious I think it is to do something like this for another person.

Handcrafted presents are always so much better than anything a person could ever buy at a store. The true gift comes in consideration the person puts forth. You can look at the details and see a part of that person in them. It’s unique, and nothing beats that. 

If you truly care for someone, make them something. When you give it to them, you are giving them a piece of yourself. 

Alexandria (left) and her sister Lilie (right)

I've known Alex for several years now. She found me when I was promoting my book, Richard Longtails. Her and I just kinda clicked right from the start. She’s one of the sweetest and kindest people I know, she’s always there for me and I’m thankful for that.

I'm really looking forward to making something for her.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Phonemes, Morph Targets, and the Study of Expression

A few years back, I was writing dialog for a cat with a Scottish accent. He was from the Richard Longtails series. His name was Finlay McFinn. At the time I was having trouble bringing out his unique accent without it being too distracting. It seemed that I was either overdoing it, or not doing it enough. 
(It’s a delicate line to walk.)

Anyways, because I was having so much trouble, I decided to do a study of pronunciation through TTC.  It was a short course, but at the time it didn’t really help much with my writing.  I remember how the instructor emphasized his words. He would explain how all these different shapes and muscles in our faces could produce the sounds that we use to make speech.

I found it kind of fascinating, but it also felt rather pointless. After the course was done, I walked away thinking: “Speech is a natural thing, why am I studying this?”

I guess you could make the argument that any knowledge is good knowledge, if applied in the right situation. But at the time, I couldn't fathom an application to where I’d be using this information; I hadn’t a clue that I would be pursuing animation, so the thought never occurred to me.

Now as I’m faced with the task of rigging morph targets for characters, I’m pleased to have taken that course, because now I have an underlying concept of what’s going on (physically) when someone say’s something. 

For me, morph targets are new ground. It will be interesting to see them in action.