Featured GoAnimator: Commedus - The Wizard's Love

Commedus
GoAnimator Commedus is the Inaugural winner of my GoAnimate, Get Featured in TET's Blog contest. Commedus has had his account with GoAnimate since September of 2011 and in that time has had two staff picks and was awarded the much sought after position of Animator of the Month for May of 2012.

Commedus was able to choose any of his animations to be featured and chose one that I hadn't seen until now and am sorry I missed when it was released back in June of 2012. Prop only videos have become something of their own genre on GoAnimate and Commedus, The Wizard's Love is a very beautiful example of what can be achieved.

The Wizards Love by Commedus on GoAnimate

Animation Software - Powered by GoAnimate.

Commedus writes about his animation...
I have picked my animation, The Wizards Love, to represent my work because of all the things it means to me. I know many people may think my party videos, such as The Throne Room Party 1 and 2 and Dead Mans Party, are a better representation of the kind of videos I do. I am very proud of them and like them very much but The Wizards love is my favorite video for many reasons.  
When I first joined GoAnimate prop videos scared me the most. I thought they were the hardest videos to make by far. So, by doing them I over came my fear of them. 
Doing The wizards Love I learned many things. I never thought I could convey so much emotion through simple props, and of course, a good piece of music. 
I had 12 year old children message me and tell me they cried when they watched this. That hit me hard as I never thought I could touch anyone's heart so deeply, especially children. 
Some told me how much they loved the music. Again, who would think that children would love classical music and I could be the one to expose them to it? 
I have gotten the same messages from adults and it means just as much to me also. We can expand our minds and our likes of different music and mediums such as animation and art in general. We just have to be exposed to it in the right way.
The other reason The Wizard's Love, and all of my Wizard videos, mean so much to me is that they represent me in my real personal life. I am a magician in life and this surely reflects that. 
One reason that magic is so important to me is because it helps me to communicate to people of all languages. Everyone in the world understands what they are seeing when they watch magic. 
In the same way my Wizard videos use no words at all in them. The actions of the Wizard speak for themselves and everyone on the site, no matter what country they live in, understands them. The Wizard will always be able to communicate to everyone in the whole world and is indeed a very special thing!
If you've enjoyed Commedus' work then why not check out more of his animations on GoAnimate.

Runner up Featured GoAnimators for the month of December included:

Review: Manga Studio EX4

Manga Studio EX4 is not an animation program. However it is a drawing, illustration and comic creation program that may be of use to the artists among you that want to draw with a professional, digital art package but don't need the photo processing power and cost of something like Photoshop.


If you're coming into animation from a cartooning background, like me, then Manga Studio EX 4 may be right up your alley. Don't stress that it says 'Manga' on the cover, this software can be used to create almost any style of illustration, comic or graphic novel. See the illustration I did on the right as a case in point.

What sets this apart from other art/illustration software is that I would describe it as a 'word processor' for graphic novelists/comic book writers. Not only can you create your art for every page of your book but the software will handle the page layout, right down to headers and footers, and it has special tools to make creating dynamic panel layouts far beyond simply putting every image into a square or rectangular box.

Everything is geared towards publishing your comics either as an online or physical printed publication. It's particularly adept at applying halftones to your image. Something those of you wishing to publish printed works in black and white will really appreciate.

Other dedicated comic book features include fully editable text and speech balloons. A full range of speech balloon styles, all of which you can customize completely to suit your needs.

Personally I bought Manga Studio EX4 as an illustration tool for use with my Wacom Tablet. Plus, as I mentioned, all the dedicated features for drawing cartoons was also a draw card.

Although Manga Studio EX4 does support tablet drawing, including pressure sensitivity, it doesn't appear to support the programmable buttons or control wheel of my tablet in any useful or logical way. For example using the wheel to zoom in and out and to rotate the page (like other illustration software I own does).

Fortunately this problem can be overcome by using the page navigation window which allows you to move around the page quickly using the tablet's pen.

Manga Studio EX4 - The Page Navigation window
on the top right is easy to use.
One nice feature for newer tablet users is the stroke correction box which, if checked, can smooth out those shaky curved lines, often drawn because you haven't quite got the hang of drawing curves with confidence.

I should mention that Manga Studio EX4 is a rastor based drawing program - that is it works with pixels to create your art like most photo processing software. However it also does support vector drawing found in many illustration software tools. Potentially useful if you'll be printing/exporting your art at many different scales. Note that you can't actually export to vector files though, so if you need your art exported as a vector file this isn't the software for you.

If vector art isn't important may even like to consider buying the cheaper version of this software, Manga Studio Debut 4, which has no support for vector drawing at all and is one sixth of the price.

Back to Manga Studio EX4.

I've yet to get through all of the features myself given that I purchased this as an illustration tool and am still learning the software. Some of those features include:
  • Rulers - you can make a ruler out of just about anything and have the lines you draw snap to the ruler.
     
  • 2D Image rendering - take any photographic image and instantly turn it into line art and screen tones for inclusion in your drawings.
     
  • 3D Objects - a library of over 550 3D objects are included which you can import into your drawing position as part of your backgrounds and then turn into line art. You can even import your own 3D objects.
     
  • Filters - included are a whole range of customizeable filters for creating many effects, quite a few specific to cartooning such as adding speed or exclamation lines.
     
  • Color - yes the program can work in full color too.
One thing I will say is that whilst I've been able to learn the basics fairly quickly it's no thanks to the manual and some pretty lame screen grab, annotated tutorials. If you do buy this software go to the tutorials page and skip immediately to the video tutorials by Doug Hill (which begin under the heading 'Manga Studio Debut 4 Tutorials - which you'll need to watch even if you've bought EX4).

The video below is Doug's overview for Debut and EX4. His style is easy to understand and you'll learn a lot very quickly.



There's probably a lot I've missed but overall I'm enjoying using the program for sketching and drawing final artwork with. Its fast and feels natural and responsive when used with my Wacom Tablet (despite the issue of not utilizing the tablet's buttons). It's the closest software I've found to making tablet drawing feel like pencil and paper.

I'd certainly give it my recommendation, especially if cartoons, comics and illustration are your thing.

The circular background motif is one of the
many included materials.

Competition - Get Featured in TET's Blog

In the past I've featured various GoAnimators in this blog that just happened to catch my eye but, since this blog has become something of a resource for many members of GoAnimate, I thought it would be something of an ego boost to have their work featured here on a more regular basis.

As such I've developed a competition for my GoAnimate family where by almost anyone with talent will have the opportunity to be featured right here in this blog.

To announce the competition I created the animation below which features Lil' Peepz versions of myself and my dog, Oscar. (Note: If the video below isn't loading or playing click the link to view it directly on GoAnimate - currently having some issues with GoAnimate Players.)

Competition - Get Featured in TET's Blog by etourist

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

The video won't mean a lot to non-GoAnimate members but if you are then watch for my Invitation to be Featured in TET's Blog post in GoAnimate's Animation in General Forum at the beginning of each month for full details.

Behind the Scenes on my announcement video...

The above animation I actually started work on more than a year ago. It started out as an animated Vlog style video featuring myself and my dog, Oscar (who often does sit right on my desk when I'm working). It was inspired by another GoAnimator's series, Thoughts from your Average Nerd by Newt.

I got about as far as the scene with Oscar scratching and then me saying "Let's tell everyone why we're here..." and then didn't know where to go after that.

As it happened creating business GoAnimations really started to take off for me shortly after, meaning I was kept very busy with other projects. When it came time to finally announce my competition, this animation was just sitting there in draft, perfect for the job and ready to be finished off.

The main point of interest in creating this animation is how I created Oscar (and I bet this is the first time the Lil' Peepz action '1000 punches' has ever  been used to simulate scratching a flea!).

There is no actual dog features in GoAnimate's Lil' Peepz Character Creator that look anything like my dog Oscar so his face is made up of monster eyes and a monster mouth and nose resized quite small.

Oscar has quite long fur when it's fully grown out - people often say he looks like an Ewok when I take him for walks. However his fur is actually much longer than an Ewok's so I'd contest that he actually looks more like a miniature Wookie!

Below is a picture of the real Oscar. His fur isn't even fully grown out here. I think I got pretty close with the cartoon version.


What I didn't get close with is Oscar's body. There is no way to create a four legged character with Lil' Peepz. The closest body type is the one used for creating a turkey Lil' Peepz character. Hence my Oscar Lil' Peepz character is destined to have is body always obscured by a desk, otherwise the illusion of him being a dog is destroyed.

Here's the only place you're ever going to see the character's full body (see image on the right).

Finally the barking you hear in the video is actually Oscar's real barking. Oscar loves to chase me around the back yard, barking whilst he does so. I just recorded him with a mobile phone one time when we were playing.




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