Monday, March 23, 2009

Old School

I remembered this curious device the other night while I was trying to go to sleep. I used to sit in the back of the car on long trips and make animations on this thing. It couldn't really replace the Flip-Book Madness that killed the majority of the paper pads that found their way into my parent's house, but it was pretty fun. It got me thinking about how I ended up in this crazy business and why I do things the way I do now.

I think I started painting on the computer in, well... certainly the early '80's. We used to have an Atari computer. No, that's not an Atari 2600.

It was frickin' Atari Computer.

Yeah, so, that was the life of a young nerd. I used to program my own games in Basic. Most were Zork-style text games, but I remember doing some reeeealy crude graphics on a Road Warrior-style car shooter. The cars were big green cubes. So were their bullets.

A few years later I graduated to Deluxe Paint where I spent a week trying to reproduce a tiger photograph down to the pixel. I'm sure today it would probably hilarious and make an excellent T-shirt.

Deluxe Paint (Or "Dpaint" as the people on the BBS used to call it. See how old I am?) was responsible for my very first paying art gig for a little (or it was back then) studio called Epic. I remember painstakingly placing individual pixels until deciding that finally someone might decide that what I'd made sort-of resembled a hulking mutant in a test tube.

Before college ended, I worked on a game being produced for Epic that never saw the light of day due to some silly squabbling between the producers and unfinished sound code. The game was to be the first full-screen animated game on the PC. Meaning cinematic-style animation, though still composed of too-few pixels to be really believable. Vector-based. Sort of a proto-Flash. For two years I dragged pixellated lines around until they formed shapes that I prayed would be interpreted as a cartoony superhero. And it actually came out pretty good, as I recall.

Photoshop didn't enter the picture until after I moved to L.A., and I remember being really resistant to it at first. I'm not even sure when that changed.

I'm not sure where I was going with this trip down Memory Lane, but... hey look! I posted in my own blog!