Friday, January 31, 2014

Toon Boom Animate Pro Tutorials

I'm in my researching phase and am really trying to wrap my head around Toon Boom Animate Pro.  Having used Toon Boom Studio, I feel like I have a good jumping off point.  Right now, I want to learn all of the bells and whistles and, boy, there are a bunch.  So for the last week I've had tutorials playing pretty consistently in the background of whatever I do.  Lets hope osmosis kicks in and I can take advantage of the software.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Changing the Design and Toon Boom Animate Pro

Well there goes my posting every week day.  Oddly enough, I did more drawing this week than I have in a while.  Hopefully I'll be able to share soon.

On to the above picture.  I'm liking the new direction I'm going in with the armor, but want to retain that classic golden era look.  I'm trying to meet the two designs in the middle.

  • Also, I've been playing with Toon Boom Animate Pro some more and think I determined how to get that Marvel vs. Capcom sprite look that I want:
  • Separate lines and fills.
  • Lay the lines on top of the fills in Photoshop.

I'll be inking the character with colored lines that I can switch between the color and black.  That way I don't have any weird strobing and I know that the line for the red part of the costume will stay red.  Not sure if that makes any sense.  Once I've ran a test, I'll explain it again with pictures.

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Keep Something Of Yourself and For Yourself"

Still working diligently on my story-boarding commission, but always researching and looking up new information.  Ironically, its worked in well with the odd hours I keep with my baby daughter.  When its time for her early morning feeding, I load up my Youtube lists and take in some tutorials.  I hadn't visited the Frederator channel in a long time and was pleasantly surprised by one of their new shows: Its A Draw.

Artist Simon Frasier asked what piece of advice he would give an aspiring cartoonist and he said "Keep something of yourself and for yourself."  I feel like this is a great piece of advice and falls right in line with what I've been doing with my game project.  Its nice to have a bigger project to keep returning and chipping away at.  Sometimes it can be hard to look back at earlier work and see how rough it is, but its also a good way to gauge how you've grown.  Just something to keep in mind.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Getting Close and Realizing Old Ideas

Getting closer and closer to a final design.  Looking at it now, I'd like to fix the buckle and redesign the boots.  Obviously, there's a good chance I'll hate the entire thing in the morning.  That's always been a problem of mine.  For now, I'm liking what I have.  I'll probably do some refinement to this drawing and then make a turn around.  Once that's done, its time to figure out the color.  

There is definitely something liberating about starting over and trying to do it the right way.  I'm also catching myself slipping into the rabbit hole on some other things I may have abandoned.  One such area that I would like to revisit is my thought that you add a lot by artistic continuity.  Basically, when Mario changes direction in his 2D games, the art is flipped.  But where I'm carrying people, that looks kind of wonky.  I'm starting to think about how I can implement it and add some variation.  The Hero Torso Holding The Civilian art that I would use was only one frame and I always thought that hurt the look of it.  I'm hoping to remedy that.  You can see some sketches about turning below.

I have to go into my cave for the weekend to work on a client project, but I think I've figured out a line weight problem I was dealing with when shrinking my art.  Hopefully Monday I'll be posting on that.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Sketches

Just a couple of quick sketches.  Top one was using some reference from Deviantart.  I'm probably going to have to use a lot of reference on this project.  You don't find a lot of side view photo stock.  Its hampering my drawings.  

Anyways, Have a side project this weekend so I won't be able to dedicate any serious time to this.  I'll still try and post though.  Nice to have a variety of things on the horizon.  

Till tomorrow.....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Revamping the Sprite Process

Art by Kiwi-RGB. Go to for tutorial

I may be getting into dangerous territory, but I'm starting to play with the idea of revamping my sprite process.  At the moment, I'm just taking art drawn in a 600 by 600 box and shrinking it down to 110 by 110.  It gives me a nice "LucasArts" kind of look , but it presents problems when its animated.  If you watch the video below, you'll see artifacts around the edges of the drawing.  Just some tiny color fluctuations in the line work that are a bit on the ugly side.  Its always been something that's bothered me, but I didn't know how to fix it.

Well, I was doing some research and started playing with the idea of creating my sprites bigger.  The finer line work might aleviate the problem but not as much as what I found next.  There is a pretty handy site called . Its a great resource for creating sprite art and while it is aimed at single pieces of art, I think I can apply his technique to my traditionally animated work.

The thought is to do ink and paint my work in Toon Boom Animate Pro and export a version of the sprites with just there color fills and one version with the line art.  I'll shrink both files to the desired size and then lay the line art on top of the fills.  That way I won't get that strobing color.  Luckily, Toon Boom has a color pallete feature where I can make all of the lines color for the fill file and then just switch it to black for the line art.  This hasn't been tested yet, but I'm hoping it will work.  I should probably test my old way of shrinking art first.  Who knows, maybe I'll have less strobing with the slightly higher resolution art.

I'll post whatever results I have.

Till tomorrow.....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sketches Sketches Everywhere

Sketchin' and sketchin' and sketchin'.  Trying to hone in on the final design of the character.  I'm trying to blend the classic superhero look with certain medieval tropes to bridge the two.  At the moment, I'm really liking the new design.  Part of me is a little afraid that its changing the tone that I was going for.  I originally wanted a funnier game, but this is leaning more towards graphic novel territory.  There is still the problem of animating it.  There are way more lines than the previous design so I might need to do some streamlining.  Not to mention figure out a color scheme.  

Good news is I'm excited about working on it again.  I'll see what I come up with tomorrow.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trying Some New Things

Back in the mind frame of redesigning the player character and taking things in a more drastic direction.  I've always wanted the jewel to have a medieval origin that would play out later in the story.  In thinking of a redesign, I thought I might bring more of that theme into the costume.  This is just a rough sketch and I'm really not taking line mileage or the amount of work to animate into account.  I'll probably go in and simplify this when I'm done, but for now I'm liking it.  I'm still learning Animate Pro, so perhaps I can get around all of the frame drawing with some strategic bone animation.  We'll have to see.

Tim Schafer's Recap of Broken Age Kickstarter

I'm currently playing the recently released first part of Double Fine's "Broken Age" and enjoying it immensely.  The storytelling, the art, the characters: everything is amazing.  I'm really captivated by the whole thing.  I would put it right up there with Paranorman as far as inspiring me to work harder and be more creative.

The whole thing reminded me that I saw a great speech by Tim Schaffer concerning his first Kickstarter including all of the high's and low's.  He also has a really great point about turning jealousy into inspiration that I'd like to incorporate into my life.  Watch and enjoy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Honest Self Portrait

2 days in a row!  See, can I keep up with a New Years Resolution or what?

Fellow artist Lauren Chaikin posted an Honest Self Portrait today and I immediately wanted to try it. Nothing like drawing your own face to make you completely self conscious about the way you look. Added a cape to rebuild confidence.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Guess Who's Back!

Wow!  It has been a really long time since I've posted anything to the blog.  Its definitely not for lack of motivation, but more because of the birth of my daughter, Violet.  Born on New Years Eve, she was the perfect way to cap off a year that included getting married, completing a lot of renovations to the house, and reaching new heights with the Rust Belt Monsters.

So with 2013 bringing all of that, its time to start thinking about 2014 and what I want to accomplish.  My daughter comes first and foremost, but with my first child comes a big question of time constraints.  There is still a lot I want to do, but the window for doing it has grown much smaller.  Things will change and I will adapt, but for now, getting any work done is a struggle.  So I'm just going to ramble off some things I'd like to complete or work on in 2014.

1) Finish my Ludum Dare Game: It was the last thing I posted about in 2013.  I enjoy the idea of it and think its something I can throw together just to say I have something finished.

2) Learn Toon Boom Animate Pro:  I know I had just upgraded my version of Studio, but the idea of making the big leap was calling out far too loud during their last sale.  So I took the plunge and am really enjoying it.  See my first test above.

3) Learn How To Use Copic Markers:  My wife bought me a nice set of Copic Markers for Christmas and its been something I've been wanting to use for years.  Now just to get a nice new sketchbook.

4) Redesign Superhero Character:  I'm still tweaking the original design and am going back and forth on different changes.  I'd love to finish this first because I really want to see him moving around in my level.  I'm trying to restrain myself though because that's how I ran into the problems I had last time.

5) Upgrade My Process For Spriting My Art:  At the moment I'm just doing a basic shrink and limiting of the palette.  I've been looking online and sprite art tutorials.  Some of them are showing the limiting of black and white art work that colors are laid on top off.  I think I can use a similar process for the animation.

6) Last, but not least, I'd like to post to this blog at least every week day.  Its something I enjoy doing and I'd like to think someone is out there looking at it.  I'm constantly researching new ways of doing things, so I'll probably dedicate some of the posts to the things that inspire me.  Who knows, maybe you'll find the same inspiration.

Well, that's it for now.  I need to get some work done before I head home to my daughter.  Come back tomorrow for more.