Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/22

botdcardEvening everypeoples. I suppose it’s almost evening, even though the sun is still up, but it’s late afternoon. “Prevening” I believe is the word The Big Bang Theory coined…

This will probably be my last blog post for the year, I’m sure anyone who would potentially be reading this is going to have far better things to do than read my ramblings between now and 2016; I’m going to be in a different city again starting Thursday, so I’m in the same boat. But when I get back to Cape Town next year, there’s going to be some minor changes around here, although they will hopefully have far-breaching impacts. Yes, this is me getting my New Year’s resolutions out of the way now.

First big thing: This is supposed to be an art blog, and I’ve been severely lax about uploading art. Oh sure, there’s my portfolio and my showreel which I need for my ongoing job hunt, but there’s a severe lack of personal and “casual” art around here, mainly because the college stuff took up so much time. Well, it’s goodbye college, hello real world, so time to start doing the stuff I’ve been too busy/distracted/exhausted to do! (Or at least as much as I can until I get a job…) I’ve already got an idea for a short animated sequence that I’m going to jump on as soon as I’m back at my light-table.

Next big thing: I’m considering giving Patreon another shot. I tried it out for a while at the beginning of this past year already, but I may have set my expectations a bit too high, because after two months and no responses I got so discouraged that I shut it down. This time, I’m going to start small, start slow, and exercise patience; even if it takes all year to get a single pledge, the Patreon will endure. My next big personal comic project will be going up there, and I will be throwing a lot of effort into it, I want issues printed and ready for FanCon in May. Keep your eyes peeled for when the updates begin.

Third big thing: My belly. Self-explanatory. Let’s see how long that one lasts…

Now, time for the alien elephant in the pop-culture VIP room: Star Wars (don’t worry, no spoilers, promise!). I saw The Force Awakens on Saturday, and I was blown away. I had a smile on my face the whole way through and then for a couple of hours after to the point where my face actually hurt. In the few days since then, I’ve been thinking about exactly why I enjoyed it so much (because I remember having similar reactions to the prequels, and hindsight was not kind to them) and came to the following conclusions: the film is good. There is no question about it, this is a solid, entertaining film that hearkens back to what made the original trilogy great. The new characters are interesting, likable, and mesh with the returning characters in a way that feels natural and fun. The special effects are what we’ve come to expect from a big-budget Disney film, and the pacing never feels too fast or too slow.

The only major criticism I could give it is that it may rely a little too much on nostalgia; the references to the original trilogy are numerous and sometimes a bit blatant. Does this make it boring and/or cliched? Not at all, it’s actually like an Easter egg hunt for die-hard fans, and a good incentive for newcomers to watch the previous films. The downside is that it doesn’t try enough new things; it’s up there showing off that it’s a Star Wars film, and is recognizable as one for more than just the fact that everyone knows where lightsabers come from.

But when you remember that this is the beginning of a new trilogy, it serves as the perfect gateway; it’s meant to remind those jaded to the franchise, and to show the next generation of fans, exactly why Star Wars is a great story. A New Hope came out almost forty years ago, the re-release was over twenty years ago, and in that time some of us may have forgotten just why we were drawn to it in the first place. The Force is indeed awakened by this movie; it is awakened in the hearts of every Star Wars fan and it is saying “Remember.”

So that’s my last ramble for 2015: personal motivation and nostalgic gushing. Hope you all enjoyed it, have a wonderful holiday season, and I will see you all in the New Year.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/01

botdcardEvening everypeoples, bit of a late upload tonight, my evening has been rather busy.

Not that my day wasn’t busy too; it’s the last week of college, so now comes the time for us to neaten up everything and make it presentable to be handed in. This has a bit more significance for me, because it will finally be (I hope) the last time I will ever have to attend college. I’ve already graduated from two separate institutes, and this past year has been an additional learning course to supplement my Higher Diploma, and I think it’s about time I called it and got out into the world proper. Though I don’t have much choice in the matter, I doubt another year of education would be financially viable, and I seriously need a job I can apply my skills to…

In the meantime, I’ve been applying skills in other areas. I got my first ever taste of playing Dungeons and Dragons last week thanks to a chance encounter with a DM at a Magic: The Gathering tournament. He was nice enough to give myself and a friend a quick demonstration game, and now we’ve both been raring to play again. The trouble is convincing other people to join in without them looking at you like you’re mad; I’m hopeful though, and with a potential group forming I’ve been drawing up character sheets all evening to make the experience streamlined. This will also be relying on me being a decent Dungeon Master and keeping the players entertained; I only pray that I’ve watched Critical Role enough times to absorb some of Matthew Mercer’s uncanny DM skills. I have literally been losing sleep thinking about how I’m going to run this adventure, and I didn’t even write it; it’s a pre-built adventure that I can follow on a computer screen, it can’t be that hard, right? Right…?

Anyway, I’m going to bed now, I think I’ve looked at enough stat charts and character biographies to knock me right out. Unless I spend the entire night mulling them over in my head and attempt to anticipate everything that might happen oh dear god not again…

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/24

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I’m still here and still alive, so no excuses not to blog anything this week.

I’ve been saying this every week for a while now, but it’s more true than ever now: College Crunch Time! This is our last week to really push on our projects and get them looking spiff and shiny, because next week we have to get them all rendered and edited into neat little showreels and we will not have time to do any more tweaking. I’m feeling pretty good about my animations for this term; most of them are a little mediocre, but the ones that count are making good progress. I left one rendering overnight today, so hopefully it’ll look good when I composite it together tomorrow.

I will say that I got hit hard by Monday again, after managing to avert a critical strike last week, and I didn’t get the Elements of Eve update coloured in time. The colour version is uploaded now so no worries there, but I just felt like my head was ready to explode last night. I don’t get it, it’s not like I spent the weekend drinking, I don’t touch the stuff… Garfield was so right about Mondays…

On the entertainment side, those of you with a finger on the pulse of Netflix will no doubt have seen that Marvel’s new series Jessica Jones dropped on Friday, and I am not ashamed to say that I binged watched all thirteen episodes twice over during the course of the weekend. The show is SO good, a worthy follow up to Marvel’s Daredevil, taking the gritty tone and making it darker, sexier, more cerebral and more twisted. Daredevil was a grey vs. gray mentality, two men each with a dream of making their city a better place, and each questioning their own actions as they walked the fine line between hero and villain. Jessica Jones, by contrast, is a straight up hero vs villain tale, albeit one with the hero being a broken shell of her former self and the villain, Kilgrave being a sociopathic puppet master whose main weapon against Jessica is the psychological scars he left during their previous encounter. Jessica faces these mind games with pig-headed stubbornness and a fierce determination to never be controlled again (plus the super-strength doesn’t hurt either). I could go on gushing about how much I loved the deadpan snarking attitude that Jessica throws around constantly, or how I marveled at the deep, twisted lack of morality that David Tennant brings to Kilgrave, or how watching people get thrown through walls is cool, but I’ll let you all go and watch it for yourselves. You will not regret it.

That’s all for this week, time to finish the latest episode of Critical Role, I cannot believe the drama going on; romance, near-death experiences, family reunions, and ghosts!

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/17

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I am filled up with pasta and nerd-culture, so let’s get this done and dusted before I fall asleep out of satisfaction.

It’s “tweak week” at college, as I have just now thought to call it; fixing up all the little niggles in our animations that are keeping our marks out of the “presentable” zone. With the way we had to rush through the shorter exercises to get to where we are now, it’s safe to say we need the extra time for fixes. It helps that I haven’t looked at said shorter exercises since I finished them, so the minor details are easier to pick out; fixing them is the harder part.

I’ve just noticed that WordPress has changed the upload layout. Nifty…

The majority of my entertainment continues to come from digital video, and I’m still heavily engrossed in Critical Role (why haven’t you watched it yet, go now!), and I continue to learn more and more about the world of tabletop roleplay. One rather interesting discovery I made through their videos is the website Hero Forge. This is a fancy little online tool that lets you create and customize your own tabletop miniature figure for game play, and then (for a nominal fee), the team at Hero Forge can 3D print your personalized figure and have it mailed to you! While I’ve still never played a game of D&D in my life (really need to rectify that), it’s fun to see how the characters I’ve been thinking up might look in tiny, plastic form ready to be painted.

WordPress has removed the word count feature, or at least put it where I can’t see it. Not so nifty…

Not much else to talk about this week, so that’s all for now. There may or may not be a webcomic review up tomorrow, we’ll see if I can get through an archive before then, might have to pick a nice short one.

The “Add Media” function is so much more convenient now. Back to nifty…

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/03

botdcardHey everypeoples, we’re into the penultimate month of the year; where has 2015 gone…?

I can answer that: into work, primarily. We’re down to the wire at college, starting our final projects for the year, which have exactly one month to finish from today. We’re busy doing lip-syncing on our characters, and it’s less complicated than I thought it would be. Or maybe I’m just getting used to Maya; I’ll admit that the graph editor that once looked like a tangled web of terror is a lot easier to use now that I know how to unravel it. It’s become very intuitive, which for me and my hurried work style is a godsend, and I can maintain my focus a lot more before wearing myself out.

I’ve also been trying to keep up my comic work, which has been tough to do in-between everything else. Elements of Eve suffered a little again this week, but Monday’s page is now up (check it out here if you haven’t already). I don’t know what it is, but Mondays just drain me a lot quicker; I think it’s the effort from trying to start the week that’s the hard part. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping the updates coming, especially since Issue #8 is nearly over. I’d better start writing the next one…

Speaking of which, I’ve been working on a comic script for the past month or so. It’s an older idea which I’ve relentlessly tweaked and hammered and mulled over, and I’ve nearly got a first draft done. I already know several things I’ll be changing to fit the pace and page count when I dive into the second draft, but I’m feeling good about it. I’ve been looking for a gateway into the comic universe I created for a while, and this might just be one of them. Fingers crossed, I may even have an issue or two to sell at FanCon next year.

It hasn’t all been work this past week though. Thanks to the Steam Halloween Sale (thank you foreign holidays for making games cheaper!) I picked up Overlord and it’s expansion Raising Hell over the weekend, and have been self-indulging some wickedness to de-stress. I have previously owned the original Overlord, but I never finished it so I’m keen to do a complete run this time. Thing is, I’m going to have to start over because I accidentally gave away a big item that counts towards my 100% Corruption meter, which was the whole reason I bought the game in the first place: to see what a truly evil fantasy protagonist was capable of. I know he literally becomes the ruler of an infernal dimension in the end (spoiler alert), but it’s the journey I’m interested in, seeing just how many cliched fantasy people I can piss off before roasting them to death. God bless Terry Pratchett for birthing a daughter that can write with a sense of humour just as dark as her father…

That’s all from me for this Bottom of the Deck, but tomorrow I have a new webcomic to review! It’s been a while, and I’ve missed talking about fun reads.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/27

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I am currently blogging to you 3/4 of a mile from the surface of the sun, and it’s nighttime! I am melting all over my chair right now…

My rapidly liquidizing state aside, it’s been an eventful week at college. After learning how to give weight to our characters’ movements, we’re heading into shifting facial expressions, which has a surprisingly satisfying feel to it. I think it’s because rather than having to manipulate the position of anything, like with the character’s limbs and joints, it’s mostly just setting sliders for the different parts of the face; the most movement involved is primarily in how the head is positioned. Obviously this will vary, but in the spirit of keeping myself sane I’m sticking to the simple stuff.

Some of you may have noticed that Elements of Eve didn’t update yesterday (if you didn’t, I may not be doing it right). I promise this is not the start of yet another hiatus; I merely had a script issue which has now been sorted, so updates will continue on Thursday. The problem with writing by the seat of your pants is that it’s very easy to work yourself into a corner and be unable to escape from it, something I had more than one experience with when I first started writing. Luckily I’ve become better at spotting such corners and was able to adjust accordingly this time; let’s hope I can keep the corners at bay.

I also splurged a little today and bought the first volume of Brian K. Vaugn’s Saga (yeah yeah, welcome me to four years ago why dontcha) on the recommendation of a fellow student, so that’s going to be my reading material for tonight. I’ve heard good things about it in the past but never got round to reading it, plus I had a falling out with my local comic shop some time back, but I swallowed my pride and finally made an appearance again. Fortunately the subject of my previous ire was nowhere to be found, so that made it easier, and I might start frequenting the place a bit more; I am so behind on everything right now…

That’s all from me for tonight, I’m going to finish up the latest Critical Role episode and then hopefully be able to sleep without converting my mattress into a water bed overnight, if you get my meaning.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/20

botdcardEvening everypeoples, going to keep this one short and simple…

I basically went from fully revitalized this weekend to running on fumes within the space of a Monday; animation really is a nit-picky process and weeding out all the little details is really draining. Throw in the fact that I’m doing my best to keep up with my comic drawing, script writing and now sending off emails looking for jobs, I am appreciating every spare moment I can get.

It doesn’t put me in a great mood socially, but no sense in complaining about something you can’t change, so back to the grindstone. If you’ll excuse me, I have a comic page to colour and upload and it’s already a day late.

Ciao for now.

Site update – Lots of new uploads!

Hey everypeoples, here’s a special Sunday blog post to draw your attention to the newest uploads to the portfolio section of the site, because there are a few of them!

First of all, the 3D Renders gallery has been updated with some new still renders, with proper lighting and staging, as well as a turnaround video of my character Helix, the results of a few months learning and hard work.

Secondly, a new gallery has been added featuring my Storyboarding project from last semester. It’s a sci-fi short based off a five-page comic I did a few years back, go check out how I tell a story with zero dialogue.

Thirdly, there was a certain 24 Hour Comic Day challenge that happened not too long ago, which you’ll probably remember if you know me, because I couldn’t stop banging on about it. It’s been a couple of weeks since then, and I finally had a moment to get the whole thing scanned, so here is my effort for this yeara little superhero tale that I made up on the fly. (If it’s a bit hard to see in the gallery, no worries, I’m working on it)

Last but not least, I’ve also added a gallery for my Drawlloween/Inktober challenge drawings that I previously only uploaded on Twitter. Now they’re all in one convenient place, and I’ll be adding more to it as the month goes on.

So that’s me, getting stuff done and showing it off, please look impressed.

Ciao for now!

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/13

botdcardHey everypeopl – good grief, is it only Tuesday? Blehhhh…

In all seriousness though, it’s been a good start to the week. I’m back in the creative swing now that Elements of Eve is running again, I’ve been keeping up with my October drawing challenge, and I’m making significant progress in my college work. We’ve started animating a walk cycle for the characters that we created throughout the year, and while mine is currently walking a little bit like a marionette, I’m forging ahead with very few problems. Nothing that can’t be tweaked, anyway.

The weekend was a good kickstart to this as well. Got to head out on Saturday to a games/comic shop, which is still something I can only achieve once in a blue moon. (Technically, I could swing by a comic shop any time I wanted, but the less said about my experience at that particular one the better). Still, got to play some Magic: The Gathering, a bit of Zombie Dice, a couple rounds of Munchkin, and I picked up the second volume of Rat Queens (too awesome). Got a new backpack as a gift as well; Lufthansa may have uncomfortable airplanes, but they make good luggage items. And then spent Sunday relaxing and doodling. All in all, good times.

Other than that, not much else to complain about, I’m going to get back to some writing, I’ve been on a roll today and I want to see how much more I can squeeze out before bed.

Ciao for now.