Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Unique Way To Catch A Criminal

I have recently teamed up with a very talented group of artists to create an animated short that we hope to submit to the SIGGRAPH Animation Festival and other competitions. We are planning on being completely done with the animation within the year and are just now in the brainstorming stages of the project. We all have come up with short stories that could possibly serve as the backbone to the animation. Mine is listed below. I came up with the concept and wrote it all within an hour. Tell me what you think.

A Unique Way to Catch a Criminal

The audience is invited by the site of a soon-to-be crime scene. We notice a masked robber trying to evade a fail safe security system that has trip lasers crossing the whole room. The red lights shine across each square foot of the room. The masked man is prepared though. He pulls out a bag of what seems to be simple chalk carrier, but we soon learn that it is very high tech powder that suspends itself in the air, exposing the laser beams for the robber to climb over and under with ease.

To the robber’s surprise, there is more to overcome. This time, the obstacle has transformed into a dangerous task, with some very risky hurdles. The camera slowly focuses off the surprised robber and eye line matches to a series of swinging swords, balls, and spikes coming from the floor and ceiling, like we have seen so many times in the Indiana Jones movies. After a few cycles of watching the terrorizing obstacles, the robber notices that there is timing to the giant swinging obstacles of death. After figuring out the sequence, he dodges, ducks, dives, dips, and doges some more, and gets past the hurdles with nothing but a scratch.

Out of breath and ready to reach the loot, the robber is once again frustrated with yet another obstacle to get around, or should we say, over. With a flabbergasted look on his face, the robber takes a deep breath as we can tell he is debating on turning back. The camera pans across a vast pool of what looks to be hot, molten lava, with nothing but tiny pillars just peaking above the horizon of the fiery magma. We see the robber start walking forward, slightly unconfident that he will pass this task, but, in this case, the juice is worth the squeeze. He slowly makes his way from pillar to pillar, regaining his balance on each. A few times, we are scared that he is going to fall in, but he doesn’t. The robber finally makes it to the other side of the pool and breathes a sigh of relief.

After panting and practically kissing the ground he stands on, the robber sees the loot. With joy, he begins to walk quickly towards it without hesitation, his eyes completely on the prize. He completely disregards his surroundings and is about to fall into the simplest trap known to man. The camera quickly cuts to a circle of rope, carefully laid on the ground. It cuts back to the robber, walking confidently towards his prize. To our surprise, he steps right in the middle of the circle of rope and it is quickly tugged from behind a wall and suspends the robber from the ceiling, exposing him and his sneaky mask for all to see. We see that the robber is extremely frustrated and is extremely mad at himself for jumping the gun so quickly.

The screen goes black and we see a few credits roll up the screen. As this is happening, a new window shows itself in the top right corner of the screen, which shows the robber still hanging from the ceiling. A very goofy looking, clumsy robber creeps into the scene and walks right under our masked robber, looks up at him and continues to easily make his way toward the loot, with obstructions or problems. We end by seeing the first masked robber even angrier at his own ignorance.

When Pixel Art Meets Crayons

I just cannot seem to stop stumbling upon new types of art. This caught my attention very quickly though. I never knew that all of those times I was playing with crayons as a child, I could have been creating masterpieces with them. What a childhood I would have had! Instead, I chose the path of the normal, innocent kid and drew on the walls of the house my fair share of times.

Christian Faur, however, was able to rethink art and come up with a new way to express his illustrations, with crayons! This style is heavily based off of pixel art, where images are created at the pixel level. Christian decided to use a crayon to represent each pixel and it turned out great!

Check his website for more of his work. Below are some of my favorite paintings of his made solely with crayons.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Christopher Columbus Fails Again

With recent critiques and suggestions to the history-changing shirt I have recently designed, I have mocked up a final draft. This includes a compilation of the shirt and design in one image, which is how many designs are presented, so I decided to make one.

I hope you like the final version even more than the first. I believe the design is now fluid and holds much better.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What The Font?

This is by far the best application that has ever been released for any designer! In fact, it is probably the best thing that has come around since sliced bread. When I came across the article, I truly thought it was fake because it was almost too good to be true. You will soon learn why. For all of you will iPhones, pay extra close attention!

Have any of you ever looked at a wonderful, smart, well-made design and asked yourself, "What font did they use? It is absolutley perfect!" But, after that, you have to leave it alone and walk away. It's a sad day for everyone. Well, you are able to quickly take a photo of the font with your iPhone and let the application scan it. What The Font then produces one or more possible fonts that are similar or exact to the type used in the design!

It's like magic, but not. I know this has been online for a while, but now it is at all iPhone user's fingertips and I, for one, could not be happier! Notice the number of exclamation marks I have used throughout this post. It is just hard not to because I will use this application more than any other application, guaranteed!

Thank you What The Font. You have truly made designer's lives easier and able to preserve more hair, with your creative thinking.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Christopher Columbus: Fail!

Recently, for an illustration class I am taking, I was assigned a project to create a t-shirt design that required twisting history around. We were asked to take a moment in history and portray it in a different way than how it really happened. To put it quite simply, turn history around in a funny and interesting way.

I will thank the walls of my bedroom for a small majority of the inspiration. The wallpaper consists of compasses and old style ships. Can you say random? I know, but my father bought the house this way and, to be honest, I like the wallpaper, so get over it! Anyways, on with the story. It got me thinking about the seas and the days of sailing. Naturally, Christopher Columbus came to mind.

Can you imagine though? The shirt says it all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Earth Hour

I am a big fan of creative thinkers and new, innovative ideas, if you haven't noticed. Either way, Earth Hour is an extremely simple concept that really makes a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions. They are asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour, hence the title "Earth Hour," to help make this statement.

After his vastly praised Obama poster, Shepard Fairey has been asked to design the Earth Hour poster for 2009 that you see above (what a great design by the way). From the research I have done on this oh-so-talented illustrator, it shows that he has much care for the environment, world matters, and the way our earth is evolving. It is great seeing an artist focus so hard on using their work for the greater good, and Shepard Fairey has really hit the spot. Here are his thoughts:

“Of all the crises we’re facing right now, I think the environmental one is the biggest. Bigger than the economy, bigger than terrorism. It’s serious, but I’m hopeful about it, because I feel like every single person can make a difference and be part of the greater solution. If I can use my art in any way to have a positive impact, I’m glad to do it.”

Pledge below by leaving a comment and saying that you will participate in this worldwide event!

Taylor's Temptation Animatic

This is an animatic of the first animation I will have ever done. The first of many though. Don't get me wrong. The story is called Taylor's Temptation and is one I have been working with and tweaking for a couple of months now. There will be changes up until I have finished it, so nothing is set in stone quite yet. From this, I have been able to see that some of my shots need to be longer and some need to have a slightly different camera angle.

For all of those unfamiliar with animatics, they are pre-visualization tools to help plan out the camera angles, shot lengths, and composition of the film. As you can see, there is absolutely nothing special or aesthetically pleasing, but that is not the point during this stage.
Usually, the artist will cut up the storyboards they have drawn for the story and then animate them, just as I have done.

It is more of a process for the creator(s) of the animation to plan what needs are required for the film (shot length, camera angles, character placement, and even sound effects). I am talking over the video to explain what is going on in further detail, so the music is a bit drowned out, but you can get the idea. I mean, that's the point.

Enjoy and stay tuned for the updates on my progress toward the full animation! Comments and critiques are most welcome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Obama's Elf

London-based animator Michael Schlingmann (previously on Cartoon Brew) created this funny 20-second animated pun. The animation is perfect!

I laughed hard at this and could not help but tell everyone in the office about it. Obviously, that means it is blog worthy, so here is stands. A wonderful pun of a classic song, turned around into a spoof about "Obama's Elf," as if he owns an elf and the elf does not want to be his elf.

Take a look!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Letter Monsters

Watch out or the Letter Monsters will get you! Not really, but you can imagine, right?

Joey Ellis took a very different way with teaching by creating monsters out of letters. Instead of a boring letters that are dull illustrations, he decided to spice things up a bit. I respect him for this because I would have loved to learn my letters from monsters, rather than those gross cursive ones they have on lined paper. It makes me cringe just thinking about them!

Anyways, Joey talks on why he developed these:

"My son James is beginning to study letter forms. He’s a visual kid (as most kids are) and really likes monsters. So, I designed some Letter Monsters to help him in his studies. I’d like to share these Letter Monsters with others who may be learning their letters. You can download Letter Monsters for free!"

The characters you see below are my favorites from the alphabet.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day 2009

I'm going out on a limb here by posting this before I've presented this illustration to my Valentine, but I don't think she will look at my blog. Since I've started my endeavors into the computer graphics realm, I try to find excuses to become side tracked and work on my own projects. Valentines Day is one of those, where I can have fun creating some really awesome, yet cute design. This year's illustration is tightly based on the one I did for Hanna last year.

By the way, the model is Hanna. Yes, I know, I'm lucky.

Anyways, I used this design once again because I like it so much. The original was one of my first experiments with painting styles and using multiple tools to manipulate a picture into this. I fell in love with the style just because it keeps so much detail and looks like it wasn't created on a computer. The brush strokes this time were supposed to create a feeling that Hanna has wings, but I did not want to overdo it, so this is what came of it. What do you think?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Design By Humans

The design community is just as important to me as actually designing. I say this because without a support system or others to share an interest with you, there is no reason to be passionate about what you do. This goes for any field, whether it be graphic design or not!

Design By Humans is a great website filled with amazing t-shirts you can buy, designed by designers just like you and I. There are contests that run, where anyone can submit artwork for and other members vote on them. Right now, there is a Fleetwood Mac t-shirt contest that I might enter artwork for. Who knows!

Below are just a few of my favorite shirts that I have found while browsing the site for the whole hour or two it has taken me to fall in love with the community. Go ahead, click the link, buy some sweet shirts that will stick you out from the crowd, and support starving artists!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Salvation Run Cover Re-Illustration

As promised, I have finished my re-illustration of the Salvation Run comic book cover I fell in love with a few weeks ago. Part of the assignment said that we were able to crop it in any way we felt necessary, so I took advantage of that and am very confident that it achieves just as much. You still are able to perceive all of the emotion and sense the true style of the illustration.

This did not take me too long to illustrate, but it always is fun staying up until 3am finishing projects after you have put them off for so long. I blame my blog for quite a bit of the sidetracking. Either way, the project is finished and looks pretty darn good in my opinion. Sure I could have put some more time into this, but I'd rather pour my creativity and time into something that was my original creation.

To see the original comic book cover, click the link at the beginning of this post named "Salvation Run." Remember, you can always click the pictures to enlarge them. I know, rocket science, so it's a good thing I reminded you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Eco Friendly Font

Every single day, we hear more and more about the words "green" or "eco friendly." This is obviously one of the hot topics of today, so what can designers do about it? Well, like I say in just about ever other post, designers solve problems. It is what we do best. This article makes me proud to be a designer!

A marketing firm from the Netherlands called SPRANQ has developed the Ecofont. Yes, an eco friendly font! Using this font, when printing, uses 20% less ink by the genius idea to cut tiny holes out of each letter to save the amount of ink used to print at the same time as maintaining the readability of the font. Hats off to them!

It is free to use and free to download, so I suggest you start using this font immediately. I just did! A preview of the font is below.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Radiohead Grammy Award Performance

I am a huge fan of Radiohead. I would say they are my first or second favorite band, and that is saying something, but that is a continual battle in my head. Either way they are amazing, live and in studio, and in this case, performing live at the Grammy Awards last night. Accompanied by the USC marching band, Thom Yorke and the rest of the band reinvented 15 Step, the first song featured on their newest album In Rainbows.

Of course this video cannot be perfect because not even a day has passed since the performance, but I will still highlight it on my blog because of the creativity and pure genius it takes to write a song like this and recreate it with a college marching band. I am a bit upset that Radiohead did not win album of the year. They completely deserved it! Radiohead, in my mind you won every award there, including the rap awards with Jay-Z's new released Jaydiohead album. I suggest you take a listen and download it for free on that site!

Enjoy the video!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Wake up.
If you said that to
I would
Because you said
Those words.
The light that hit
My eyes
Could reflect
Morning doves
Through the window.
A sunrise has already
Those colors were
But my
Meant more.
You were hovering over me,
Dressed in the
Simplest garments,
With the greatest
Oh so softly
Two simple words
To have me notice the
New day,
With you in it:
Wake up.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Voice Painting

New inventions seem to become less and less as all the great ideas are used up these days, but with art, I guess innovative ideas never cease. I think that is great because I myself am in the art industry and love to stumble across these creative thinkers.

In this case, Ze Frank has developed a voice painting system to draw with using only your voice. For example, with this program, low volume curves counterclockwise, medium volume is straight, high volume curves clockwise. As you can tell in the video of Ze's friend using this, it is not an easy-to-use way of painting, but it is pretty amazing!

Below are some screen grabs of some faces Ze attempted to draw. They are kind of creepy in my opinion, but at the same time awesome. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Snow Logo

I've heard of some awesome ideas for marketing before, from spray painting sidewalks to yernal cakes with logos on them, but this takes the cake (no pun intended). Recently London had quite a snow. I found this appropriate to talk about because Indiana has just received a bunch it too. What an interesting article it was to find!

A London media solutions agency called Curb was very clever, taking advantage of the snow as a medium for design. Who would have thought of it? Stamping the Extreme (the sports channel and high energy lifestyle brand for London) logo into the snow could not have served a better purpose. They had high return and great feedback of the creative endeavor. The pictures speak for themselves!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Miller High Life For The Win

I'm not sure if you know this or not, but there is a really big football game called the Super Bowl that happens once a year here in America. The two best teams of the season play each other and compete for these really fancy rings that are worth roughly $5,000. Most people use this game as an excuse to have a party because, unless your favorite team is playing, you care more about the commercials than the actual game!

This year, I did not care about the game. I had no preference who ended up winning in the end. I rooted for the Arizona Cardinals because I have family there. Obviously not an important game in my eyes. Either way, the commercials won in my opinion. The innovation, creativity, and money that are poured into them pays off.

Miller High Life, on the other hand, did something very new this year. Rather than paying for one or two 30 second spots, they decided to make one second commercials that did the exact same job for cheaper! It was almost like subliminal messaging. The video will show you the various commercials they aired and how short, yet effective they are. Beer anyone?

Happy 23rd Anniversary Pixar Animation Studios

It seems like every day I become more and more of an admirer of Pixar and all of the amazing talent they posses. In just 23 years, they have been able to pull creativity from several individuals and produce 10 absolutely astonishing feature films and 17 short animations! You don't see any other animation studio with that kind of track record. And that is the reason Pixar is such an inspiration.

Right now, I am currently reading a book titled The Pixar Touch by David A. Price, which is an entire history and background in the making of this company that I highly recommend to anyone. I am still not finished because classes started up, and are, once again, taking over my life, but I intend to finish once this semester ends. I also follow The Pixar Touch blog and the Upcoming Pixar blog. I usually devote 30 minutes at least, each day, researching or reading about Pixar and it never gets old!

Happy Anniversary to all who made the dreams of so many possible!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Taylor's Tempatation Storyboards

18 frames and days later, I am finally finished with the storyboards for my animation. Although time consuming, tedious, frustrating, and mentally draining, these are extremely important for the entire process of creating an animation. Ask anyone or watch/read articles and interviews with professionals in the industry. I actually just posted a video clip of the importance of storyboarding on another blog I write for.

This significantly helps with the planning process of the story. You are able to pinpoint the camera angles you want for each shot, the expressions your character will have, and get a feel for the framing of each scene. This may not illustrate what the animation will look like exactly, but this gives you a very good feel for the sequencing. I am obviously not the best traditional artist, but these are simple tools to help when I bring all of this to the computer.

I like to remember back to a very simple, yet impacting quote one of my professors always encourages, "Think 8 hours, work 2."