Monday, May 27, 2013

Epic Review

Today I saw Epic by Blue Sky Studios.  It was pretty good.  I'll give it four out of five stars.

Epic is a beautiful movie.  The designs of the creatures and characters are brilliant and detailed with beautiful colors and shapes.  The characters were good and there was a decent amount of humor.  I heard some people complain that it had little plot, a symptom of most Blue Sky movies, but I thought it had enough.  Actually, I think it had more plot than most of the Blue Sky movies I've seen.  There was a little something from it missing that I couldn't put my finger on, (maybe the word is depth?), but it didn't detract too much from the movie for me.  The ending wasn't what I was expecting, but it ended well.  It had good themes, some of which were more obvious than others, such as we're all connected and you should never give up on your dreams or ignore the things that are most important.

If I could describe Epic in one word, it would be "pretty."  There's more to it than beauty, though, and I found it a very enjoyable movie.  It's definitely worth a watch.  I saw it in 2D, but I could tell that it had great potential as a 3D movie.

I want more stories from this world.

Star Trek Into Darkness Review

I finally got to see Star Trek: Into Darkness on Saturday, and I do have to say... it was amazing!  Five out of five stars for that movie.  It had character development, tearful moments, kick butt moments, awesome action, and a few laughs.  There are several nods to the original Wrath of Khan movie some of which could be considered cheesy, but I think it was good cheese.  Not that you have to see Wrath of Khan before you see Into Darkness, but I feel that it's a better experience if you have.  I actually watched Wrath of Khan the weekend previous since I'd heard that you should see it before, because somehow, in my life of being raised on Star Trek and Star Wars, that was the one Star Trek movie I hadn't seen.

Scotty gets to be a bigger part of this movie and do some cool stuff, poor Chekov has a hard time doing important stuff, McCoy gets some danger, Uhura is brave, and Kirk and Spock become better friends and both become more human/easier to connect to.  In a way, they all get their chance to save the day.

And Benedict Cumberbatch makes a fantastic Khan.  He does Khan the way I think Khan should have been done in the original movie.  Cumberbatch's Khan is brilliant, arrogant, conniving, and a perfect beast.  He's not a rabid, hurt beast, but a deadly predator waiting for the right moment to make the kill.

This is definitely up there in quality with the first movie.  Into Darkness gives Star Trek a run for its money.  I'm not sure which one I like better, but right now they're tied for me.

I hope this review was helpful!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Drawing for Animation with Jake Parker

Warning, it's another long post.  Lots of pictures.

So, my last semester at BYU I was able to take another class from the amazing Jake Parker.  Of all the teachers I've learned from, he is the one I learn the most and grow the most with.  The drawing for animation class is a basic concepts of drawing kind of class, and it was nice to go over those again.

You can see all the lectures and student's work on the class blog.  It's good stuff.  You should check it out.

Okay, now let's go through the whole semester!
The first assignment was to draw every day so that by the scheduled final we had 106 drawings.  I'll put the best of those together in another post and upload that another day.

Assignment #2 was to redesign a Mario universe character and practice inking styles/mediums on it.  I chose Princess Rosalina, who I did not know existed until this assignment.  The first time I used a micron, brush, and ballpoint pen.  I basically failed the assignment since I made them look all really close to the same.  

I redid the assignment with mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, and a brush pen to try and get different results.  Jake like these much better.  :)

Then I colored her for fun and practice.

The third assignment was to redesign a character from the Nintendo franchise.  I picked the Mailman from Twilight Princess.  He weirded me out the first time I saw him and I decided he needed to be fixed.  The first step was to do silhouettes and design a character based off of the silhouettes.

The Silhouettes

My first pass.
 Jake didn't like this one so much.  He really liked the outfit, but the design was fairly standard and didn't push the shape of the figure.  I waited until the end of the semester to redo him since I wanted to learn more and improve my drawing skills before trying again.

I did more silhouettes.

This was the final redesign.

I don't know what Jake thinks of this one, since I turned it in after class was over before the final deadline for everything, but he did help me pick out the silhouette, so maybe he likes it?  I like it.  It's very different from anything I've done before, and nothing like the original character from Twilight Princess.

The fourth assignment was to draw a sea captain.  I decided to draw a lizard pirate.  I like lizards.  We had to do silhouettes for all of the assignments from this point on, but I'm not going to show them too you so that this post doesn't get horrendously long.

For the fifth assignment we drew different poses with our sea captains.  We were to do two expression poses, and two action poses.  This was the first assignment I didn't have to do any reworking on.

For the sixth assignment we got to draw anything we wanted, as long as it was a character.  I drew Red, but I based the big final project around her so I'll save her for my next post.

For the seventh assignment we drew animals.  I decided to take a stab at designing the llama in my webcomic!  Her name is Maple.  Jake really liked her and praised me for doing the structural drawing over the silhouette since that's what made the design really work.  This was the only other assignment I didn't have to do any reworking on.

Then the last assignment before the final was to do compositions with an environment, five exterior and five interior.  Environments and backgrounds are not my strongest thing, I struggle with them, but I'll still share those scribbly drawings with you.

Some of these drawings influenced my environment designs in the final project, so those might look a little familiar when I post that later.

So there you have it!  This is a significant chunk of what I did during my last semester of college.  There will be more posts following this one with more stuff from this class, but this is most of the big assignments.  I love learning from Jake Parker.  I grew a lot this semester and I finally feel like my art is on the good side of borderline!  I made a couple drawings for this class that I thought looked professional or better than I thought I could draw.  Drawing every day helped a lot.  I need to get back on that again.  :P

Sunday, May 12, 2013

All Terminal Cases Creative Process MEME Part 2

The continuation of that MEME that I got from Shazzbaa on Tumblr.  Apparently I've lost the original... the link doesn't work anymore.

First half in this post: LINK
  • red: is it hard for you to think up new ideas? list three of your biggest influences.
  • orange: what do you do when you’re inspired? do you scream eureka, write the idea down in a notebook, what? 
  • yellow: what do you do when you’re stuck in a block? list three sources of inspiration when new ideas are scarce.
  • green: how do you flesh out an idea? does it take a long time, do you mull over it for hours, or does it come easily? describe the process!
  • blue: depending on your form of art, what are some of your favorite ways to characterize, add detail, design, establish a settling, or otherwise elaborate on the piece? are you fond of world-building, or does that pose a problem for you? (customize this question if you’re an artist or otherwise)
  • indigo: picture of your workspace!
  • violet: describe your work habits. do you eat? do you need music? are you messy or organized? do you keep a notebook? how long can you work at a time? etc.
  • silver: what’s the hardest part of a piece for you? (plot, background, etc)
  • gold: the easiest? 
  • black: what is your least favorite part of the creative process?
  • white: your favorite? 
  • rainbow: do you believe in true originality? 
  • brown: what does it take for you to honestly be proud of something? 
  • pink: what is the most rewarding part of being a writer, artist, etc? 
  • magenta: what drives you the most insANE?
Indigopicture of your workspace!

Hey lookit!  It's my workspace!  These pictures are a little outdated now since I got an iMac as a graduation present and now have two monitors on my desk, but I've only had it for two weeks now and haven't really worked with it yet.

Violetdescribe your work habits. do you eat? do you need music? are you messy or organized? do you keep a notebook? how long can you work at a time? etc.
I like to listen to music.  When I'm doing art I can listen to anything, but while I'm writing I can't listen to music with words.  At least, nothing in English.  As you can see in the image above, I'm a little messy.  Not super messy, but messy.  
I have one sketchbook I carry around with me all the time, a folder of loose paper to draw on when I want to draw something bigger than my sketchbook, a folder with legal-size paper for drawing my comic on, an idea book for writing down concepts, ideas, dreams, etc. in, and right now I also have a small spiral notebook that I'm writing stuff in for a campaign I'm getting ready to run.  I used to have multiple notebooks for writing things down in, but just like my blogs that always seemed like too much effort to me, so I condensed it all down into one book.  That's working out much better.  :)
I can work for very long periods of time, especially while I'm listening to music, but I do periodically go surf the internet and see if anything has updated since I last peeked.
That's probably something important to mention.  I have a routine I go through on the internet in the mornings before I do much anything else.  I read the comics I follow, then check Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, then deviantArt.  This tends to take roughly an hour and is how I stay on top of everything that happens on those sites.  That way when I go peek at things later while I'm working I don't end up spending hours and hours trawling the web.
I sometimes work better when I have an audience, especially when I'm trying to do something I'm not so excited about or have gotten a bit tired of.  Other times I get lonely and don't feel like doing anything.  When any of that happens, I turn on livestream and work away on things or share my screen with a friend.  This helps me a surprising amount to focus and have fun doing art.

Silverwhat’s the hardest part of a piece for you? (plot, background, etc)
Backgrounds and setting.  My brain is driven by concepts, characters, and good plots.  Figuring out backgrounds in art or setting in story and actually drawing or writing it is the toughest part for me.  I need to practice more.

Goldthe easiest?
Coming up with characters and concepts.  I love doing this.

Blackwhat is your least favorite part of the creative process?
I'm not sure.  Maybe trying to find time to make progress.

Whiteyour favorite?
Playing with the ideas!  That could be drawing it out, writing, or even just thinking about it and asking questions to come up with ideas.

Rainbowdo you believe in true originality? 
Yes.  Originality is your unique way of taking the pieces of what you have and putting them together.  Originality is how you look at things.  Originality is being yourself and not being anyone else.  This doesn't mean you never copy others, never agree with others, or try to be different.  It means learning from everything around you and making up your own mind.

Brownwhat does it take for you to honestly be proud of something?
Being surprised or pleased by it in the end.  If I've managed to push forward a step, then I feel very proud of myself.

Pinkwhat is the most rewarding part of being a writer, artist, etc?
Creating.  Nothing is more satisfying than creating.  Even being with people (something I crave) can't hold a candle to the sense of fulfillment creating gives me.

Magentawhat drives you the most insANE?
People who are hateful, think they're better or know better, or refuse to educate themselves.  It's my biggest pet-peeve.  Being closed-minded and judgmental doesn't help you and makes things harder for everyone around you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's Campaign Time!

So, right now I'm playing as a character in a campaign run by my friend.  It's being loads of fun and I've drawn some for it.  My character is a thief called Jay Bird who has been passing herself off as a boy for many years.  She has flame-orange hair, a ton of freckles, and a troublesome/bratty attitude.  I love her.  :D  She has somehow also turned into the tank of the group.  So far she's gotten an arm broken, burnt to the bone on the same arm, tied to a bedpost while all her strength got magically sapped from her, poisoned and left for dead in an alley, mauled by a bear... and I'm probably forgetting something.

This is Jay all dressed in her boyish attire.  She had a pet rat at the start, but lost it pretty quick.

Here's what Jay looks like as a girl.  She doesn't like dresses.  Pants are much better for running away from things in.

This is Jay and the rest of the party.  They are, from left to right, Caylin, Sittaid, Jay, Chandra, Banen, and Sumi.

Jay first meeting Sittaid.  He blackmailed "him" into working for him.  Then Jay ran away that night.

Jay took Chandra, the priestess girl, out on a rooftop date to thank her for helping "him" with "his" broken arm the night before.

After getting burnt to the bone, then healed, Jay ran off to a brothel to relax and calm down from all the craziness.  Trouble followed the group, so the group followed Jay.  Jay was not happy about having her relaxation/dress-up time with the girl she'd bought for the night interrupted.  Sittaid's brain kind of broke  when he found out Jay was a girl.

Turns out the bad guys were trying to kidnap Chandra since she's apparently the daughter of Johnna.  That's Jay's mother's name.  It's a pretty rare name.  Chandra doesn't like the idea of being Jay's sister, and Jay has no idea what to think of it.

Sittaid logically decided that since Jay seemed to not like physical attention, the best way to discourage her from walking next to him in her immodest attire after getting soaked was to kiss her forehead.  It worked, but not for the reasons he thought.
Oh yeah, and Sittaid got spots on his nose from upgrading his sense magic for smelling.

This is how I would like Jay to be someday, or something along these lines.  We'll see how long it takes to get there.  This is also my most recent drawing of Jay, from around Christmas time, and you can see how much better it is than the very first on of Jay and Sittaid.  I'm improving!

Like I said, I am very much so enjoying this campaign.  I should draw more for it!  I should write up more of the story sometime to to share with you.  It really is fantastically fun.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Iron Man 3 Review

I went with my family today to see Iron Man 3 and I loved it.  We get lots of Tony Stark, Pepper has a couple chances to be awesome, Brody gets to be a much bigger help than ever before, and the action was intense!  The new characters were also great and there's lots of good interactions between everyone.
This movie is more character and action driven than it is story/plot driven, so there are some missing details that would help things make sense, but not enough for me to find it concerning.  Enough was hinted at that I was able to fill in the blanks, but it bothered my husband.
And after all of the movies, including Avengers, Tony is still finding ways to grow and be a better person.  He's even more lovable by the end of this movie.
Overall, Iron Man 3 was a fun, action-packed film that I greatly enjoyed.  Iron Man is still my favorite of the series so far, but Iron Man 3 is just after it.  I give it four and a half stars out of five.

And you have to wait until the end of the credits.  The hidden scene at the end almost tops the shwarma one at the end of the Avengers.

I've decided I'm going to give reviews on movies, games, and books on here whenever I finish one and feel like it.  If there's anything you want me to pay attention to or things you think could help me improve my reviews and make them more helpful, please let me know so that I can think about it and improve.  :)