Thursday, November 20, 2008

ASIFA Auction

If my blog wasn't already such a sloppy mess, I'd already have a link to Mr. Warburton on the right over there. I'll have to figure out how to do that again. Anyway, the
big ASIFA Animation Auction is happening tonight in New York. SO if you like animation and you live in or near New York and have nothing to do on a Thursday night you should probably check out Warburton's blog here. Lots and lots of cool art from the best artists in animation today! Mmm-hmm!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Since I'm trying to save money this X-mas, I've decided to go the "crafty" route for gifts. This probably means that I'll be making my mom something really nice out of a paper plate and some macaroni.

I'm also infusing some vodka to give to some friends, and my girlfriend and I decided we should paint labels with watercolors. I haven't painted in a looong time, and I'd forgotten how fun paints can be. I wet the whole paper first and put down some green, then tried to see what shapes I could find. Sort of like finding faces in the clouds. This is what came out...

I'm not sure if it's a commentary on my mental state, but it was sort of liberating. Now it's back to the grind. I need to get 25 pages of storyboard done per day if I'm going to make my self-imposed pitch date for the new show (sorry, can't show anything yet). If I'm going to be honest with myself, I'd say I'm so close to the Holidays now that I've already missed it. But what kind of stubborn jackass would I be if I didn't try?

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Beginnings Look Like

As requested!

Now you too can stare at this blank storyboard paper for hours, wondering how to begin telling your story! Marvel at the small frames that seem like they should be easy to fill! Wonder at the mysteries of how to compose a shot for standard TV and HD at the same time! Thrill as your muscles atrophy while you waste away in a chair!

You can print this out or use it digitally. I normally start with a "template" when I work in Photoshop on my Cintiq. This is my bottom layer, and it has two blank "drawing" layers on top of it. I never draw directly on the board paper layer itself because I might need to cut or move the frames later. Ideally my first blank layer is for my rough drawing and the one on top of that is used for cleanup, but it's not uncommon for me to add a few more layers as needed.

On top of that in my template, I add a layer for page number, a layer for scene numbers, layers for left and right dialog, and layers for left and right action. Most people I work with say I'm crazy for typing my dialog and action notes, but I type quickly and much more neatly than I write. The only people who don't say I'm crazy for typing are the directors, who I think appreciate having something legible to work from.

When I've added all these layers on top of the board paper, I save a layered .PSD file as "BoardPaper" and a copy as "BoardPaper_BK" in case I screw one of them up. Now every time I want to start a page I open my BoardPaper.PSD, draw what I need to draw, then save it as "Chowder_001", "Chowder_002", and so on. The numbers at the end of the file are what keep the board sequentially organized, so be careful not to name the pages "Chowder1", "Chowder2", and go from there, because eventually you'll end up with page 2 right next to page 200 and everything will be a mess.

I'm sort of unusual in that I prefer to board in Photoshop. The standard at CN right now is to board in "Toon Boom", which feels to me like a simpler version of Photoshop wth a few shortcuts for boarding. Until recently Mirage was also popular.

You could also do it the "old school" way, and print out or copy hundreds of these and then just drop them on top of a light box and go to town.

A lot of people in animation aren't very organized (and I can be one of them). We're artists, after all, not accountants. Still, it's part of your job to make the next guy's job easier. If you're doing models they'll be passed on to a cleanup artist. If you're doing boards, directors and overseas animators have to interpret what you've done, so try and make sure that everything reads well.

Good luck!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Leftovers - Skarr Fights Candy

Okay, here's the Skarr fight Kirk H. wanted to see.

Also, it seems that Underfist and Big Boogey are both being shown in their entirety on CN Video:

So now's your chance to get a look at 'em if you missed 'em the first time around.

Thanks to everyone who sent me the ratings and the positive press. I've even gotten a rumor that another network is looking for something "like Underfist". I hope they remember that I'm a free agent now...

I've been pretty busy lately, but while I'm on "down time" I'm hoping to revamp my "How to get into Animation" articles and put up the final one I never finished. Maybe those will come along soon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I've been doing a lot of cleaning lately. Some of it's been digital, moving all my old files onto my portable HD just to clear up space. Today I came across some of my old Zbrush 2 stuff. I bought Zbrush 2 during one of Billy & Mandy's cancellations with the intention of teaching to myself. These pictures were taken from some of the tutorials. "Make a human head" and "Make some armor" were about as far as I got before Billy & Mandy ate my life again. It was a really fun program; more like sculpting clay or painting than the point-pulling madness I'd come to expect from other 3D programs.

Maybe I'll get back into it someday, but first I think I need to learn Illustrator. Not having the luxury of a dedicated cleanup artist has sort of sucked of late...

And yeah, I guess there's a bit of Skarr in this guy, but mostly I just didn't know how to make decent looking hair. ;)