Saturday, January 24, 2015

Global Game Jam 2015 Part 1

I had originally planned on updating through out my stay at the Game Jam, but the first thing I learned was this: TIME FLIES DURING A GAME JAM!

I showed up, watched a couple of key not addresses, and then they delivered the the...slowest...most...drawn...out....way.  What they ended up with was "What Do We Do Now?"  I was immediately perplexed.  So I stood in line and tried to think of something that I could finish in roughly half the time.

My idea was to strip away the players weapons as you uses them.  Leaving the player with nothing before the enemy is dead.  Its meant to have the player question what to do next.

I quickly started drawing.  What started as a beard ended as a Lumberjack.  The fight will be between him and a giant bear.  Hopefully it will be comical.  More hopefully, it will be finished.  I'll try and update more as I scramble to get something working.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Global Game Jam 2015 Begins

I've waited a long time for this. I'll be participating in my first Global Game Jam with other members of the Cleveland Game Developers.  It has been years since I've made it to a meeting, so I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone better and get updates on their projects.  I haven't decided whether I will join a group or not.  I'm going to be cutting my time short and wouldn't want to affect any groups working the whole weekend.  We'll have to wait and see.  I'll update more as I go along.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lift Animation Completed!

Although it is only a measly 5 frames of animation, I have completed the "Lift NPC" animation.  The second half has the forearms and hands removed because they will be placed in the Spriter file (holding the NPC).  Every time I jump into Toon Boom Animate Pro, I'm reminded why I like that so much.  So much time is being saved by not drawing very frame.  The occasional asset is created and the cape is usually hand drawn, but it is mostly a breeze.

The next step is to place those frames in Spriter as a guide and then animate the NPC's being lifted.  Hopefully it will choreograph nicely and it will look like one piece of art.  Well, I'll settle for close enough.  Hoping to get started on that next week.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pink and Nanook Fanart

I've never really worked on anything anthropomorphic before.  Maybe I drew a couple of Disney characters that could be classified as that, but nothing specifically for that audience.  So this was pretty new to me.  Yesterday was the 40th birthday of friend and fellow artist Henry Pope.  He's developing his own comic starring Pink and Nanook.  I know very little of these characters as he is finishing up his first issue, but I definitely like his designs.  You can tell so much just by their body proportions, way they dress, posture, and expressions.  Its something that I really need to work on in my own work.  I'm sure I'll be referencing his more often.

Happy Birthday, Pope.

If you'd like to see more of his work, please visit

Till next time,


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Back to the Grind!

After a small hiatus, it feels good to get back to the game.  It took me a little while to remember where I was and what needed to get done.  Sadly, it feels like "everything" is yet to be done.  I'll push forwards anyways.  First order of business: Finish the new run animation.  Just a few new frames of animation, only for the cape, and I should be done.  After that, I think I might get back to Spriter and start carrying around NPC's.  Stay tuned for more.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Making of" Violet: Year One

Finally, I can pull from the darkness and head towards the light.  I've been missing from the fold.  Not from laziness, but from extreme busy-ness and secrecy.  My little girl Violet turned one and I was working on a video for her birthday party.  Because I wanted it to as much a gift to her as my wife, I had to keep it off the inter-web for it to remain a secret.

It worked.  My wife seemed overjoyed and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

For people who are interested in this kind of thing, I thought I would break down a couple of the effects in the video.

First thing.  All of the videos were taken with cell phones.  For some reason, everyone takes videos vertically and not horizontally (as in wide screen movies).  So my big problem was that I couldn't show video clips traditionally because of the black area on the sides.  My solution? Show the videos with cropped edges.  That's when I thought of doing the scrapbook.  It would allow me to cut off the black edges and place them on top of fake Polaroids.

The next problem was that I wanted the pages to curve like normal paper.  After Effects is a pretty flat program when it comes to 3D...for the most part.  It can basically be like flying index cards around a 3D space.  There is a normal page turn effect you get with the program, but it is just faking the turn.  I wanted to do better than that.

So after some research, I found a script called Bend Layers by Jacob Danell.  This program takes your flat image, asks you how many segments you want, and then splits that image in to a bunch of strips.  2 strips would be like folding it in half.  The more strips, the smoother the curve.

With that problem solved, it was just a matter of flying the camera around past the pages.  

I also wanted to give the whole thing a more cohesive look and better represent it in 3D space.  So I added a particle effect to better sell the depth of field and the the camera was moving and banking around.  I then loaded up Red Giant's Magic Bullet Looks, and did some color correcting and flare.  I used to do a wash of film grain to make everything blend together better, but much prefer this way.

Without Filters

With Filters
I also decided to do some pseudo 3D photos.  The effect is from duplicating your image and isolating the subject from the front layer.  Then you spread them apart and move the camera through the 2 images.  A little play with the Lens Blur effect and it will work pretty well for you.

There were some smaller effects in there too, but these were the trickier ones.  If you hung in this long, thank you.  

You can see more on my personal blog: NeedYourDisease

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And why not Twitter: NeedYourDisease

-Ben Hale

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Painesville Party In The Park 2001

I was digging through some old art relics and found my winning entry for Painesville's Party In The Park. This was for a competition offered to Lakeland Community College that I was lucky enough to win. I still like this one, but it's funny to see a comp with zeroed paper taped to it. 

Fun Fact: I didn't know Adobe Illustrator that well so did the text in Flash. Craziness.