Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Delayed again

I was holding off on making a new blog post in the hope that my next one would be the release announcement. However, we're delayed again so I think an update is necessary.

I know some readers understand that this ain't no drag-and-drop audio hack project, but 10 minutes of original orchestral score + full custom environmental soundscapes. Those people will wait patiently for another 2 months if necessary and still enjoy the movie when it's released. To those people, thanks! Here's a new screenshot:



If on the other hand, you are one of those who are increasingly irritated at the ongoing delays and demand an explanation, here it is:
The reason for this particular delay is the simple fact that part C is more than half of the movie. It's greater than A and B put together. Because part C > (A+B), I don't think any of us truly appreciate the sheer volume of work needed to fill Part C with audio. This is the reason my timeframe estimates consistently fall short.
Having said all this, the new estimate is as follows: Part C music will be finished by October 15 and the sound effects will be completed in the week that follows. Each time Nathan delivers audio to me, I make notes for changes, which are promptly seen to by him. This process usually takes an additional few days.

Therefore, we're looking at Oct 15 + a week + a few days = Oct 25 (ish). Here's how it will be released and who sees it first:
  • Day 1 - send out Waterlollies to my preview list by email (industry people, journalists, bloggers, friends, family)
  • Day 2 - Selected groups on the Brackenwood forum (Mods, Admin, MotM)
  • Day 3 - Brackenwood forum, General members
  • Day 4 - BiteyCastle.com front page announcement and WoodenBlog article
  • Day 5 - released on Newgrounds.com

click image for full size

--
TRAILER COMP SECURES SPONSOR
More info on this in a later update but for now, the makers of the fantastic Digital Pro software, ToonBoom Animation have kindly agreed to sponsor the upcoming Brackenwood trailer competition to celebrate the launch of the Brackenwood Store. This means that the grand prize-winner* will score a full commercial license of ToonBoom Studio v4.0. worth US $399.oo

Check out the personal learning edition and don't forget to download the excellent tutorials.

*I say "grand prize" because there will be Brackenwood Store prizes for two runners up.

Files to be made available
To make it easier for you to create your Brackenwood trailer, I'll be uploading chunks of my movies in .mov format and posting links for you to download and use those files.

Once the competition is under way, your entry should be uploaded to YouTube and the winner will be decided by community vote on the Brackenwood forum.

Some of you may be able to work without my .mov files and get a slight headstart (note - a headstart doesn't gain you any real advantage, other than the time you have to work on your entry). Check out the first entry here.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Smell that?

RSS just happens to mean 'smell' in the shadow tongue. Now it's fixed! Big thanks to Vector for pinpointing the RSS problem for me, and Mr. Man whose link to feedburner.com was very helpful.

Go right ahead and subscribe to the Woodenblog now and each update will come to you directly without the need to come here and check! Just think, when I announce the release of Waterlollies, the news will come direct to your feed reader immediately.

You can subscribe by clicking on the RSS icon (). Firefox users will see this icon in the address bar at the top of this window. I still don't know much about RSS so please feel free to make suggestions or corrections in the comments on this post.

Having signed up with feedburner.com I can now post this cool headline animator anywhere I can post HTML.

WoodenBlog

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Click the bit that says "Grab this Headline Animator' if you'd like to display my headline animator on your site. I'd be very grateful and it's just like linking to biteycastle.com, only taking it a little bit further :D

Waterlollies - word of the year.
Parts A and B are now fully complete. Music, sound, actionscript, everything! Not far to go now. After sensing a little negativity re: the wait for Waterlollies, I started a poll on the Brackenwood forum. I was slightly surprised, but very relieved at the (almost unanimous) result. Click here to see.

ToonBoom rocks!
It took me about a week to get into using ToonBoom Digital Pro, but omgwtfbbqbusinesscard! Bernard Derriman and I are working together on a freelance project for television. Using ToonBoom I'm gobsmacked daily by what the program can do. I only wish I could show some of it here, but perhaps soon I'll do a short Brackenwood test and post it on the WoodenBlog.

Again, I will probably never abandon Flash because I'll be maintaining Bitey Castle and making web shorts for years to come. I've got a list of ideas here for the next 30 shorts project :)

One to watch
Aside from being Brackenwood's official number 1 fan, Nathan Viney is a talented writer of randomness and oddity. In twenty years time, they'll be showing the following video on those "before they were famous" TV shows:
The Daily Crumb, 7 days: Cat Vomit, Have a laugh and Sports report

Thanks for reading, watching, subscribing to and supporting me.
Until next time when, who knows? It may be the big announcement.
Love from Phillips!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where TFIWL?

This week I walk into the room, looking around at your expecting faces. I'm reading your thoughts "It's the 20th! I've been looking forward to this day all my life!"

A tear wells up in my nose and I decide that this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I sniff as the tear begins to fall, but too late.. it falls out of my nose and cascades over my lips. Embarrassed and thinking fast, I try to hide it by bringing my coffee mug quickly up to my mouth. The edge of the mug cracks into my front teeth and scalding hot coffee splashes all over my nose and chin. I scream and blisters immediately begin to form.

You all look very surprised. Wasn't September 20th supposed to be the happiest day in history? Blinking through even more tears, I regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumcisions, Christmas is cancelled this year. Waterlollies is coming soon, but no Christmas (conditions apply, see your religion for details).

Like I said in my previous post, with the movie now being in the hands of other people, it's kinda difficult for me to give a finish date. However, the good news is that the scripting is done. Now the music is all that's left and progress is moving fast.

--
Flash Forward Winners announced!

You beautiful people! 30 shorts took out People's Choice, which stunned me when I heard. You need a LOT of votes to take out that award, so thankyou everyone who took the time to vote for me. At the link above, you'll notice that Bernard Derriman won the Animation category, which earns his first orange rubber arrow (pff.. me? I got FIVE!!)

I animated an acceptance speech for the awards ceremony :P


--
Brackenwood.net

Where'd it go? Well, here's a conversation I had on the subject recently:

Chluaid says: http://www.brackenwood.net/

The Daily Crumb says: :O:O:O
The Daily Crumb says: that either means...... you've deleted it, theres technical error or you're uploading a new design
The Daily Crumb says: which one might it be :O

Chluaid says: it's been stolen. I tried logging in to my control panel and it failed, so I emailed the host and he said that I had changed the password, removed the site and reassigned the nameservers.
Chluaid says: When I told him that I didn't do any of that, he said that I must have given out my password. I asked if it was possible that I was hacked and he gave me this crap about how secure their system is, and how dare I suggest otherwise
Chluaid says: so I got a mate of mine who is a legal guy to write them a letter. They received the letter today and they had their lawyers look over it. They'll get back to me on Monday

The Daily Crumb says: fak
The Daily Crumb says: :(

Chluaid says: Basically the letter states that my Brackenwood property is worth USD 4.5m and if the domain was stolen and irretrievable, they'll be liable
Chluaid says: Whoever stole it has now got it shielded so you can't lookup the whois database for their info. I'll bet it's a spam domain capitalising on Brackenwood popularity
Chluaid says: oh by the way, everything I've just said is a lie. I've reassigned the domain to Yahoo so I can set up the Brackenwood store next week :)

The Daily Crumb says: .................
The Daily Crumb says: ill get you for that
The Daily Crumb says: |-(
heheh.. I wish my Brackenwood property was worth USD 4.5m. I'd sell out, quick as ya like! Any buyers?
Anyway, there you have it, the Brackenwood store is coming in a matter of weeks :D
I'll announce more in the next post but it's an overhaul far beyond anything I'm capable of.. this one's being handled by professionals, so you'll see a good-sized range of Brackenwood items very soon.

--
ToonBoom Digital Pro

For me, learning to use ToonBoom Digital Pro has been a slightly bumpy road, but only because I've been working in Flash for 7 years. The documentation, tutorials and support are all very good, but if you're a Flash user, my advice is: try not to think in Flash terms.. it'll just confuse you if you try to translate your Flash knowledge to ToonBoom.

Anyway, it's a hefty, robust, powerful TANK of an animation program though and I'm foreseeing some awesome opportunities for Brackenwood. Already I'm getting some great results on this project I'm working on with Bernard Derriman.

Don't worry, I'm not about to abandon Flash.. after all, my audience is 100% internet and I'd be an idiot to alienate them. With ToonBoom though, I'm widening my scope and hopefully preparing for something big in Brackenwood's future.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

done!

Guess what! No need for a Waterlollies graph this week because I've finished all of the animation. The final scene was difficult, time-consuming and complicated.. but heaps of fun (you'll see why sooner or later).

When the music is finished I'll announce the release here and on the forum. There's also a little matter of the actionscripted effects that are still being worked on, but I anticipate it to be finished before the music. I hope to release on or before September 20, but as it's now in the hands of other people, I can't say for sure.

The movie is generously sponsored by Newgrounds so I'll also be submitting it there a day or two after it's live on biteycastle.com.

---

Next project!
Bernard Derriman and I are working together on a freelance job (for television) using ToonBoom Digital Pro - the latest and most awesomest version of ToonBoom Solo. Bernard has been using Solo for a few months now and will be helping me learn the ropes, trying to get me up to speed quickly enough to be useful on this project. Who knows..? Maybe the next Brackenwood will be my first non-Flash movie :O

More Brackenwood
I have a few ideas for my next Brackenwood project, which will break away from the "random scenario" pattern of stories and focus more on the bigger Brackenwood picture. Bitey had to come from somewhere right? Why is Brackenwood so sparsely populated? Where did everyone go so suddenly and without warning? Why has Bitey grown up wild and completely alone?

These questions will be answered if I'm forced to continue making internet episodes. I say "forced" because ideally the Brackenwood feature film is next on the agenda. Therefore (and it's a sad, yet exciting thought) it's possible that there won't be another web episode of Brackenwood.

If that worries you, I hope you take comfort knowing that a Brackenwood feature film is what I've been leading up to all these years and will be better, more complete and more satisfying than all the internet episodes put together.

---

Launch It! Challenge
Today was probably the first Sunday in months that actually felt like a Sunday to me. As a nice break from animation, I made a video showing how to make a small slingshot with piano-wire. It's my entry into the Launch It! Challenge on instructables.com so drop by and take a look at my instructable. Don't hurt yourself!

Here's the video.. the audio is by French band 'The Hush Puppies'. I bought their CD after hearing them play live at Annecy, France in 2006.



---

Speaking of slingshots
I've posted a human slingshot in the past, but when you watch my YouTube how-to video, this other video comes up in the 'Related' column. The term "crazy bastards" comes to mind.







Seeya!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Waterlollies Eclipsed

As most Australians saw, there was a total lunar eclipse recently and I took a few hours away from Waterlollies in order to set up my telescope. We made a night of it and we were joined by some friendly neighbours who brought vodka.

With binoculars, telescopes and cameras we saw plenty of the moon that night and I managed to get some amazing shots simply by aligning my camera lens to the telescope's eyepiece. By fantastic coincidence, my digital camera's lens fits quite neatly into the telescope's eyepiece. Here are my favs from about 75 shots.

Note: as seen through a refractor telescope, the moon appears upside-down in these shots.


High-power lens: The earth's shadow creeps in from top left.


Low-power lens: Taken about 10 min after the above shot.


Towards the end of the eclipse as the light starts to reappear. Increased the exposure (+1.3) here in order to see detail in the darkness.


My favourite. Same shot as above but decreased exposure (-1.0). I have this one as my desktop wallpaper.


I took this photo from the window of my home-made spaceship, shortly after lift-off.

---

Waterlollies progress

oO0oh.. contractions are very close together now. The biggest and most difficult scenes are finished. Part C has 85 scenes and there are 13 to go. Here's the graph:





As you can see, storyboard is complete and we're days from finishing..

HOWEVER..!
.. don't organise your Waterlollies party just yet. Nathan McCree is working on Part B music right now. Here's what his to-do list looks like:
  • Part B music
  • Part B sound effects
  • Part C music
  • Part C sound effects
I still think we'll be good for a September release, but I'm thinking it'll be around September 2oth. Don't quote me, I'll keep you updated.

Flash Forward People's Choice
Thanks everyone who voted for 30 shorts. People's choice voting closed on August 30 so now we sit tight and wait for September 19-21. The Flash Forward Film Festival ("FFFF!") night is held at the end of the conference and the winners of the individual categories are announced.

To stay up to date on the conference itself, keep an eye on the Flash Forward site over the coming weeks.

---
By next update, I'll be finished Waterlollies and music/audio should be in its final stages. Talk to ye then!

-Phillips

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Flash Forward Finalist



If you've seen the main page of Bitey Castle, you're probably aware that my 30 shorts in 30 days project is a finalist in the upcoming Flash Forward conference to be held in Boston next month.

I'm up against Bernard Derriman's 'Congo Windfall'. In the past, Bernard and I have gone head-to-head in several festivals so for Flash Forward, we've finished our trailers. Here they are. A big THANKS to Ween, who have kindly granted permission to use this song for the festival trailer:







Voting for People's Choice is open now and will close on August 30 so please, drop me a vote (no, not Bernard.. MEEE!).


If you voted for me, thanks! If not.. grrrr!

Waterlollies graph
Hey cmon, it's only been 3 days since the last graph. OK then, here's a quick one:

Waterlollies overall:
[iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii........]
(i = done)
(.. = not)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Flash CS3 Quicktime Export

Anyone using Flash CS3 is probably aware that we can now export our movies to Quicktime format keeping movieclips intact and exporting any actionscripted graphics/animation. This is something that was screwed up in previous versions of Flash, where only the first frame of movieclips were exported and any actionscript was ignored.
Note: CS3's enhanced Quicktime Export is the only video export format that Adobe have improved so far. Exporting to .avi or image sequences will result in the same old movieclip/actionscript issues.

Even though I'm using CS3 I still use graphic symbols wherever possible because it's important that I'm able to scrub the main timeline and preview the animation in the context of the scene. This isn't possible with movieclips, despite the menu item Control > Enable Live Preview (which the Help file tells us allows movieclips to be previewed in the timeline - - uh, no it doesn't).

Still, being able to export actionscript stuff like particles, physics experiments and so on, it's a godsend for any Flash programmer who's ever wanted to create a showreel for YouTube or a DVD.

To use Flash CS3's quicktime export, go to:
File > Export > Export Movie

then choose Quicktime as the format.



Then you'll get some options to play with:



Clicking the Quicktime Settings button at the bottom gives you further options such as the compression codec and audio settings.

A word of warning for animators. The 'enhanced Quicktime export' has great difficulty coping with large movies, CPU intensive graphics and high frame rates. Because it captures frames from the Flash Player, your exported movie may contain dropped frames and some unexpected stuff.

It's recommended that, if possible, you lower the frame rate for the export process, then raise it in another program like After Effects. I know, this is a huge pain in the arse but remember this is QT Export's
v1.0. At least we know Adobe are listening to us and the feature will inevitably improve as time goes by.


Waterlollies
I posted an update on my Newgrounds user blog and Tom frontpaged it (cheers!):
chluaid.newgrounds.com/news

If you've come here from Newgrounds looking for a Waterlollies update, here's the latest graph:



I estimate it's about 82% complete now. My painful schedule of 4 scenes per day is pretty tough but it's good to see how fast the movie is coming along. The end is actually in sight and I'm pretty sure we're looking at a September release. Don't ask me for a specific date or my face will implode.


Click image for full size

OK that's it! As always, thanks for the support. See you in about 10 days with the next update ;)

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

More work, less health!

This week: Adam whines a bit about his health, shows some stuff he did a couple months ago for Wizards of the Coast, and updates the Waterlollies graph that has become so compulsory.



I've been given the all-clear to mention my work for Wizards of the Coast on a new ONLINE GAME of theirs called "Uncivilized: the Goblin Game". This was yet another awesomely fun assignment, very similar to my 30 shorts project in which each day was a new and completely different challenge.

Without giving anything away about the game, I can reveal that my part of the job involved creating a few icon-sized graphics/animation, as well as a bunch of short animated scenarios (for which I also did a bit of voice acting) that play between levels of achievement in the game.

Here are some screenshots from those shorts:


Oasis


Scrub


Shakedown

For updates on the release of Uncivilized, keep an eye on Wizards of the Coast.


Dor ti sorek
Little things are starting to go wrong with me and I put them down as a direct result of my long hours at the computer, for around 80 hrs per week over 2-3 years. Headaches, stomach pain, sudden dizzy spells, backache and minor waves of nausea, not to mention bones and joints that simply hurt when I get out of the chair. My body clock is so out of whack from working all night and sleeping until midday, 7 days a week.

With a tear in my eye, I've decided to quit WoW for a little while and go back to my earlier routine of exercising in the back yard between 2-3am. Perhaps that'll fix some of the biological mess that is my body.

Today was unusually warm for August in Sydney, so we went for a long walk around Iron Cove. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to feel sun and wind on my face. Gotta do more things like that.

Waterlollies
Thanks for the comments in the chatbox.. it's required reading for me each day and gives me a much-needed boost.

Thanks (I think) to those few who aggressively demand a Waterlollies update and new graph. While those kinds of comments generally make me want to throw my pen in the air and quit, it does prove that there are people out there who are desperate to see the next Brackenwood. Keeping that in mind gives me the go-ahead nod that says 'you're doing something good'.

I can't wait to release this movie cos I think it's going to be great. Beyond Waterlollies though I can hear echoes from the future: "hurry up with the next one you lazy bastard!!"




I've removed the audio from the graph because it'll only take a few days for each part so therefore, won't be as slow-moving as the animation indicator. Speaking of which, Part C is about 4 minutes long so the graph will probably move slower week-by-week than A and B.

Love from Phillips.
x x x

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bug hunting

You've probably noticed I've got a new chat box which I discovered after checking out the blog of a Woodenblog visitor. It's from CBox.ws and so far it's working nicely. It's got a very easy-to-use Admin control panel which include moderation options and spam control. As you can see, it's also fully customisable to the look of your site/page.

I've wanted a chat/shoutbox for a long time but never found one I liked, so this is an experiment that I'm happy with so far.

Crash [of] Course - followup

While trying to track down the bug and hopefully prevent it happening again, I think I've managed to pinpoint the cause, along with steps to reproduce. This is a habit I've developed from being a Flash beta tester over the last couple of years, so the steps below will give the development team something to go on.

OK I notice the crash happens rarely at the start of a day's work but it's reproducible almost 100% when I've been working for a longer period of time. This leads me to believe that the memory taken up by my History panel may be part of the problem.

The crash occurs when I've created a shape tween and I start to move vector points around using the sub-selection tool. Each time, the crash occurs when I then scrub the timeline on the shape tween.

So in summary:
  1. A full History panel
  2. Shape tween
  3. Sub-select tool, moving points
  4. Scrub timeline
  5. CRAAAAAASH!!
Possible prevention:
  • Clear History panel before tweaking the vector points in a shape tween.
  • Lower the number of Undos in Edit > Preferences > General. The higher this figure, the more memory used.
  • [Workaround?] Avoid having vector points visible when scrubbing the timeline. To hide vector points, switch to a tool (brush, selection, paint bucket) other than sub-select tool.
Another annoying little occurrence that has become more frequent just lately is a delay of about 1-2 seconds after I press Ctrl+Z (Undo). This probably also has something to do with my maximum undos (currently set to 100).

However, I discovered that the delay is eliminated if my Library is closed! Not just minimised or tucked away.. I mean CLOSED completely). That's kinda understandable I guess, seeing how my Library for any major project contains thousands of symbols. Now I keep my Library closed all the time, only pressing F11 when I need it.

Therefore, it's probable that the contributing factors for the delay are:
  • High number of maximum undos (and full History panel)
  • Large Library is open.
I can't say whether or not Adobe would see these little grievances as worth, as epic-scale animation projects like these have the minority of Flash users.

OK here y'are! As you can see below, the storyboard is pretty much complete. Just a few layout, timing tweaks and scene juggling to go.


-lollygraph! Now with Audio thingy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Crash [of] Course

A few nights ago, I lost about 3 hrs work when Flash crashed. I'm using Flash CS3 and I'd never had a problem with it until then. It's the most stable and powerful version of Flash yet so I still highly recommend it. I have a feeling it was a problem with my computer's memory though, as I've begun to get some "not enough memory" messages in certain other programs.

The most frustrating part of any crash is that I'm a compulsive Ctrl+Shift+S guy, and my drive is full of incremental saves from every project I've worked on since 'Bingbong of Brackenwood' (some of you may already know that I no longer have a Flash file for Bingbong.. I lost it in the Great Crash of 2002).

You never crash when you save frequently.. you only crash when you forget to save. Just like you never drop the tin cup, only the most expensive and sentimental china cup.

So anyway, so demoralised after losing 3 hrs work, I went and played WoW for the rest of the night.

Waterlollies Progress

Thanks to those extra scenes in Part B, I'm now well behind the original schedule. But all freelance work is gone, so Waterlollies is now full time (midday to 3am).



Part B is finally complete and now for the real hard work, Part C. This final chunk of the movie is the nightmare workload, with some multiple character scenes, more water effects including some underwater scenes and possibly the first glimpse at Brackenwood weather.

Here are some screenshots from Part B:









For Part B I've probably given more sneak-peeks than I'd like to, so you may only see one or two shots from the upcoming Part C.

Thanks for the continued support and the comments posted on recent Waterlollies articles. Reading those pages keeps me going :)

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

The same old question..

.. I ask myself the same question on every project these days. "Am I putting too much work into this drawing/effect/scene/movie?"

Usually the answer is something like "yes you are, but a movie is immortal", so I press on. This week I finished one of the monster scenes in Waterlollies. It's a water effect that's on screen for all of 1 second (!) but the pencil mileage was excruciating. I don't want to show the finished effect, but here is the linework from about 12-15 frames (below). Incidentally, linework is about 20% of my water effects, the other 80% is reflections, refraction, highlights, etc.. this particular scene was incredibly time-consuming.


Water linework - click to see larger

It does hurt to work on something for so long, only to miss it if you sneeze or blink. However that's the nature of animation, especially effects. Bad effects animation is always distracting, whereas good effects animation passes by barely noticed (it's never the effects animator's job to upstage the characters, only add substance and realism to their world). All the same, it's certainly encouraging to know there are people out there who pause my movies to look at these tiny details that I've taken the time to include.

The graph!



OK so there's still a bit of work to do on part B, but I've started on part C. Nathan McCree has also begun to work on part B so I'm really looking forward to hearing what he does with it. Did I mention how amazed I am at his work on part A? Can't wait for you to see/hear it :)

Extra, extra!
I added a few extra scenes to part B (hence the little incomplete bit on the graph) and I imagine I'll be tweaking and adding bits to part C as I go. For this reason, the July 22 deadline is looking unlikely. Before you kill me though, just think.. if you kill me it'll never get done! Besides, you can't kill me.. I have a mouth to feed!

Just keep an eye on the blog and hopefully the updates will keep you interested until the movie's release.

Monday, July 02, 2007

and again..

Waterlollies
As promised, here's an updated graph of Waterlollies progress.



almost 2/3 finished. Nathan McCree will start on Part B's music soon and the scripted portion of the movie is being worked on by the best people in the business (in my opinion). I'm warming to the idea of bringing in experts in various fields to help complement my future work.. getting it all done by July 22 is still a bit daunting but even if we're a little late, I've a feeling it'll all be good when it's released.

SCP
So what was the freelance job that kept me off Waterlollies for month?
It's a karaoke-style singalong for kids on the Kelloggs Rice Krispies website. You can see the finished product: click here.







The ad agency is Biggs|Gilmore. Working closely with their team throughout the entire project I created the animation from the ground up, i.e. design, storyboard, animation, effects, to go with the song.







All throughout the project, this was a very satisfying assignment and the people at B|G were a dream to work with :D

And one other..
Another job that I worked on before this that I'm not sure I can show yet, but it was another really enjoyable project for a well-recognised company. When they asked me to work on it they said they'd need something "similar quality to the 30 daily shorts". That got me interested right away cos the 30 days was probably the most fun I've ever had animating.

Anyway, the project came and went and I thoroughly enjoyed it and the people were great to work for. I can't wait to show it here sometime in the future. I'll post here when I have the link.

Until next update, gnight!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

WL progress update

I've set a date and created a small preview for Waterlollies. No, not a trailer.. a preview. A sneak-peek. In other words, don't expect to see much. I really want to show a proper trailer but on the other hand I don't want to give anything away. There's a bunch of stuff in this movie that I'd like to be part of the first viewing experience.

Here is the Newgrounds Alpha I created for the movie. Read all about the movie and see the Auld Sage's new design.

Here is the teaser scene, which has been well received so far over at the Brackenwood forum:




Even though I've set a date, some find it difficult to be patient without any kind of progress update. The image below kinda says it all and I'll post the same image (updated of course) each week. So as far as progress goes, here's what I've got:



Yes, even to me it looks like a tight deadline (by July 22? GAH!) but we'll see. Watch this space.

---
In other news, it's raining in Sydney. It's bloody fantastic (I've always loved the rain.. more the better).

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Lost" smoke monster: someone else's idea?

oO0oh.. controversial!

Question: is it at all possible that the 'Lost' smoke monster is "inspired" by the Yuyu cloud?
Answer: no.
A pretty common question I get is whether or not my Yuyu cloud design was inspired by (or ripped off) the monster from Lost. The answer is no but the fact is.. the two are identical.
I've always put it down to a bizarre coincidence. Here are the two for you to see together. Thanks to whoever owns the YouTube submission:


'Lost' episodes compilation featuring smoke monster.


'The Yuyu'.


I've always felt terrible that I need to defend myself, so today I did a little research on the dates. Here's what I found:


  • 'The Yuyu'. Created almost entirely during the months of March, April 2006 using Flash 8 on my computer. Movie released on my website May 1st, 2006. Released on Newgrounds.com on May 3rd, 2006 (source)

  • Smoke monster first appears in 'Lost', series 1, episode 24 (Exodus 2).. aired in the US on May 25, 2005 (source)



OK so earlier today I was so certain that I had created the Yuyu cloud a whole MONTH before season1, ep24 went to air, that this blog article looked completely different. However, thanks to someone with better eyes than me (coughRATIOcough) , it turns out the difference in date is about 11 months... and it's not in my favour.

The smoke monster from Lost was aired 11 months before the Yuyu was released.. therefore all you've got is my word I guess. I've still never seen an episode of Lost and I did spend days coming up with the design.

After I'd released 'the Yuyu', my workmate Bernard Derriman told me that in Lost, there was a monster identical to the Yuyu cloud. I was devastated at the time, but never thought it could be so similar. It wasn't until today that I actually went to YouTube and sought it out.

A brief look at the dates and I was so elated to be a whole month ahead of Lost, that I posted a triumphant article here and put the story on Digg.com (could Lost be inspired by the Yuyu??).
Uh, no Phillips. The answer is no.

Sorry to anyone who dugg the story.. I buried it as inaccurate.
*shuts up - goes back to work on Waterlollies*

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Water of Lollicraft

Just lately my time is split between work and play - Waterlollies during the day and World of Warcraft at night. Here's a fresh image from Waterlollies which incidentally, I must say is coming along very nicely. After a few months of solid freelance work, I was sure it'd be difficult to get back into Brackenwood, but it's been fun.



On the subject of World of Warcraft, was this you?



You happened to send that at a time when I was AFK watching the wild weather outside. I tried replying but you'd gone, so uh.. sorry bout that, and thanks for the support :)
If you're ever in my neck of WoW, drop me a line.. I'm happy to chat.

Realm: Khaz'goroth
Faction: Horde
Name: Fok

I even have a guild called Prowlies, so pst me for an invite if you're a regular.
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ABC TV (Australia), Sunday 5pm

I was recently interviewed by ABC's Sunday Arts programme and it goes to air on Sunday at 5pm. See you there.
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Munch's War

Nathan Viney has been hard at work again, just finishing his mockumentary/interview/sketch comedy Munch's War. Mike Swain (creator of Blockhead) and I did some voice acting for it too and no... well, yes... I'm kinda almost the complete nutter he makes me out to be.
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ColorStudio by artibaj

I'm very impressed with a Flash extension called ColorStudio. I've actually gone and bought the full version ($9.99 USD) because the free Demo was so tantalising.

It was built for Flash 8 and the creator has recently released a Flash CS3 compatible version (thanks!).



To be completely honest, Flash's colour mixing tools are adequate (if a little clunky), but if you're a colour fanatic like me, ColorStudio is a relatively miniscule investment for what it delivers.. not to mention that it's a lot of fun to play with.
One thing it doesn't have (which I'd like to suggest for the next release) is the ability to save your colour mixing progress. When I close and reopen Flash, all of the awesome colours I mixed are gone.
The workaround of course: save colours as swatches using the Flash Swatches palette.
On the ColorStudio page, some of the english is a little broken, but once you've played with it a bit and understand how it works, it's all pretty self-explanatory.

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Thanks once again to all the donors.. I'm forever grateful for this huge show of support!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back!

Thanks for the emails, comments, donations, etc.. even though I've been silent for so long, the consistent level of support for me and Brackenwood has really taken me by surprise. It's given me a much needed boost on a daily basis and honestly is the ONLY reason I haven't gone back to some 9-5 studio job.

Finances not-so-grim now.
Not since The Yuyu have I managed to squeeze out such a substantial stool of work in a short amount of time. I've just completed 3 consecutive freelance jobs that all went smoothly, despite being long hours and hard work.

I'll post links to those works when they're live (all web projects) but until then, I'm now working hard on Waterlollies. To give you an indication of the movie's progress, here's how it goes:

I've organised Waterlollies into 3 sep Flash files. A, B and C.
  1. Part A is 2 min in duration. It's now finished, music included.
  2. Part B consists of 43 Scenes. I'm currently aiming to do 4 per day
  3. Part C is still in rough storyboard phase.
Nathan McCree, musical composer for the Tomb Raider games has created an incredible piece of work for Part A and is waiting for me to finish parts B and C. He has agreed to do sound design on the entire project as well. This is going to be massive :)

I'll be posting a little more regularly throughout work on Waterlollies and will include images and perhaps some more downloads along the way.

Talkitye soonish!
-Adam

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

My first blog rant

oh man this is just brilliant.. I won't spoil it with an intro:



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Alright, in other news, I'm so broke right now that I'm taking on some freelance work and need to put Waterlollies aside for a week or two. It's just not funny anymore and we're talking about survival now.

Speaking of customer service (were we?), some random thing that happened:
I needed to buy some button cell batteries for my favourite LED light the other day. I went to the shop and the guy said "$8.75 each". They are tiny batteries and I needed 4 of them, so I said STFU to him and walked off..

As expected, it took me about two seconds to find a site that sells micro batteries in bulk. Meritline.com had exactly what I wanted so I ordered a card of 20 batteries for $5.50. Got to the checkout and how much do you reckon for shipping from the US to Australia?

$62.

I emailed them asking if it was a mistake. They replied saying 'unfortunately, we agree that shipping to your location is a little high' and then 'oh by the way, we only accept wire transfer for international orders'.

I fired back a terse reply and went back to Google.

The next micro battery site in the list was Microbattery.com.
Inside 4 minutes, I'd bought 25 batteries for $9.90. Shipping was $2.95. Paid with Paypal.
Yaye!

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you all this is because I told Meritline I'd blog it and they didn't give a shit, so this is my little "fkyu" to them. So if you're outside the US, don't buy online from Meritline.com
As if you would anyway... their international shipping price alone slams the door in your face, not to mention their narrow, archaic payment policy.

On the other hand, I highly recommend Microbattery.com because I got exactly what I wanted, zero fuss, all payment options available and I didn't need to go looking for the 'Contact Us' link at all (though it might be worth doing that to pass on some positive feedback).


It was my birthday the other day! Give me gifts please, thankyou (preferably gifts that I can swap for food outside my house).

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Slingshots

I love home-made projectile weapons.. the more simple and silent the better. The slingshot has to be one of my favourite ever.. it's just so perfect.

I've often wondered what it would be like to be fired from a gigantic slingshot into a lake, and once (years ago now) I designed what I thought would be the next big thing: a theme park attraction that flings people hundreds of metres to the middle of a lake. Of course it never went further than diagrams in my school books.

Tonight looking through YouTube, I stumbled across this by complete accident.. it's absolutely incredible.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Special Effects DVDs

TechSmith, the creators of the fantastic screencapture software Camtasia Studio, have graciously agreed to sponsor the 'Bitey Castle Academy' lesson DVDs that I have been talking about on the Bitey Castle forum for the past few months.



I'll be using Camtasia Studio 4 to capture the video and audio from my computer, so you'll be hearing me explain stuff, and watch as I create it.

After taking a poll of which lessons everyone wanted, Special Effects lessons overwhelmed the other poll options of Flash Basics, Drawing Basics and Animation Basics. While the Effects lessons are aimed at 2D animators and illustrators, the same physical principles apply to other types of animation including 3D, stop motion, etc.

I am aiming for a March release of Waterlollies, so immediately after that's finished, I'll get to work on the Special Effects DVDs. A teaser chapter or two will be released in the brand new Academy section of Bitey Castle, but the remainder of the lessons will be available only by purchasing the DVDs.

I'm doing the Effects DVDs first but I will cover the others in separate "volumes" later. Each volume will consist of several DVDs.. so the Special Effects Volume will have separate DVDs that cover design, animation and treatment.

Stay tuned after Waterlollies (that's if the amazingness of the movie doesn't KILL YOU!!!) and I'll announce the DVD progress here.

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Yes I'm addicted.

As always happens when you go live with a major project, the next few days are spent tweaking, fixing and changing stuff.

Since uploading BrackenSack I've been doing just that, which also happens to involve lots of playing. I've managed to get some good scores so I decided to capture the screen and post the video. The video below shows about a minute of my BrackenSack playing technique.. it's shrunk way down but you can see the score.

Also there's no sound in this unfortunately.. I couldn't figure out how to make Camtasia capture my sound card audio.

Win a Prize: I'll make a custom Bitey image for you.

I'd love to see other people's videos of BrackenSack. I'll make a forum sig or avatar for my favourite at the end of the month. Feel free to add your own sound, voices, subtitles, music or any kind of story. Host it on YouTube or googleVideo, send me the URL and I'll blog the winner here.

Just a small competition to get the BrackenSack word out there ;)

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