Monday, December 28, 2009

Polly Want A Soliloquy WIP

I was recently contacted by an awesome Prodigy fan site, The Prodigy Fanboy, with the request to create an illustration for a new site-layout banner, after the site's owner had caught wind of an old Prodigy bit of fanart of mine from 2004. A Prodigy fan for ages now, I couldn't help but agree.

The trick therein lie in the fact that, in the past 15 weeks, I haven't inked a single iota, as I've been in the middle of rough animation for Caravan throughout and the backgrounds, as well, have been in pencil. So, I decided to kill two birds with a single proverbial stone - teach myself to draw steadily on a Cyntiq, as well as re-sharpen my inking chops.

The guinea pigs for said practice project? A couple of main characters from a long-standing original concept of mine: Kamikaze's Rook, Reagan and Dymitri.

I picked a bit of the characters' story that always gives me a bit of a giggle: Wherein Reagan realizes, after much prolonged skepticism, that Rook is telling every bit of the truth about the pesky, yellow-eyed Corvid that has been following him around for days... He talks. Vividly, no less. Reagan shrieks. The bird, Dymitri, looks incredibly smug at startling the inferior bipedal specimens. Poor Rook just continues to look wholly disturbed.

Here's the progression on the image so far:

Steps in detail:
  1. The initial rough sketch. Each character, as well as the background are addressed on their own layers.
  2. Fleshing out the sketch a bit more, particularly where Rook is concerned. The bird, Dymitri, is also resized a bit to make the composition hold a little more weight.
  3. Opacity on each layer is brought down to about 40% to help separate them from the line work. Line work is, again, kept of its own character-by-character layer. Here, I've started final inks on Dymitri.
  4. Dymitri's line work completed, I move onto Rook.
  5. Rook is completed as well - Onto Reagan.
  6. All three characters completed in their inks. I also began sketching the background a bit more, teasing the idea, in the bottom right corner, of having a bunsen burner cooking a pot full of some ominous concoction for food. This was considered primarily for the purpose of having a blue flame as a light source in addition to the window. And yes, for the record, my sketching is usually this haywire when I'm not drawing on a clientele basis. It all makes sense to me, at least ;)
  7. Pushed down the characters' opacity tremendously to focus on the background. The backgrounds' lines are kept to a very minimum, as most of it will be built when I flat and color the thing. I also nixed the bunsen for what will be a rickety looking fire-hazard of a space heater, adding an orange light source to the space instead. It seemed more appropriately creepy, given the characters' expressions.
  8. Initial color study/flat layers. This will be a night shot, mostly monochromatic blue, save for the addition of the space heater's fiery glow.
More again from this image soon.
♥Mel

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow Puppy

I needed something random and cute to draw - and something completely different than anything I've been doing in Caravan for the past few months - so, here's Moxie as a puppy in the snow. Hello, cute overload. ;) This silly quickie is all-digital from sketch to finish, created on Niles 's Cyntiq. It feels so wonderful to create art for FUN! It's been too long!

Also, I'm quite pleased to note that I've been granted some unexpected commercial freelance work over the break - looking forward to it!

Cheers,
♥Mel

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RIP Ron Hayward


News has reached my peers and I that this past Sunday, one of our most talented, dedicated life drawing models, Ron Hayward, passed away. Ron was an amazing person - soft spoken, intelligent, good humored, who took his craft seriously, and genuinely cared about the students who were learning from illustrating his thoughtful, dynamic poses. It was always a pleasure for me to speak with him, and I, as well as the CCS family as a whole, will genuinely miss his presence. RIP, Ron. You will be missed.

Mel

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not Chinese: Character 1 Final

video

Source dialog clip is from Dexter, in a conversation between Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee) and Dexter himself (Michael C. Hall):

"Yo, what's up with you today? You're throwing off my Chi."
"...You're not Chinese."
"I'm not?"

So, it's official! Not only have I survived a full semester in a rather intense Maya animation course at CCS, I genuinely feel like I've thrived in it, despite my initial devout stubbornness when it came to the program itself

The last day of class, and indeed the last critique, was, to be perfectly blunt, awesome. We had the opportunity to have our work critiqued by a professional animator, a great fellow by the name of Glenn Parsons from Kinetic Post. Knowing how busy ANY animator is professionally and personally, it was wonderful for him to take the time to come out, view, and critique our work, as well as openly answer any questions we had about the industry in general. Thank you, Glenn!

He had some great suggestions on the clip I did for my final piece as well: I will be going in and working on them to help improve the animation, as soon as I've gotten a couple of day's rest (Today is the last day of a very long, very hectic semester) The critique:

  • Show more weight and purpose in the character's step. This could possibly be achieved by having him stepping into the scene from the very first frame.
  • Anticipate more into the "I'm not?" to further emphasize the character's emotions. This could be done with a clearer curve: more emphasis on a reversed curve in his spine.

Over all, I'm very pleased, I have to say. It feels fantastic to now have a base of knowledge in not one but two methods of animation - and knowing I'd love to do either professionally.
-Mel

Caravan Updates as of 12-17-09


Hi all! Here's a quick-link list to the latest progress on Caravan, via entries over at the Caravan Production blog, including the above completed background from Shot 002:
Happy Holidays,
Mel

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Caravan Updates as of 12-06-09

Hi everyone! Here's a quick-link list to the latest progress on Caravan, via entries over at the Caravan Production blog, including the above completed background from Shot 027:
Cheers,
Mel