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Understanding my Absence and Updates on my Projects

Lil' Peepz TET... I miss you.
For some time now I've only been sporadically posting to this blog, which has been personally disappointing, as I've tried to make this and my Writing About blog something that I consistently update with new content on a weekly basis.

Whilst I've been more prolific on my Writing About blog, I don't have the same broad scope to write about almost anything I choose here. This blog is devoted to documenting my personal animation projects and things that relate to my work, such as reviews of software I'm using, tutorials, animation tips and, occasionally I'll feature other animators work that I've discovered too.



Typically, I post more often when I have an active project on the go. Unfortunately I haven't really had an active project on the go for months because of my commercial animation work. It's the same story of freelancers everywhere. When you get busy professionally, all personal projects fall to the wayside.

I've also been floundering around a little because those projects I have been working on for quite some time have grown stale and I've been purposely avoiding starting anything new because, I'd really like to finish something long term for a change.

To be honest, I think I do need to start something new as well as keep chipping away at the existing projects. Statistically speaking I should finish some of these projects eventually.

So, lets review where I'm at since my last project update...


JAC Cat
CrazyTalk Animator 2


JAC Eye creation.
When I last reported on the development of this CTA2, G2, fully customized character I was in the process of creating all the eye expressions before moving on to the mouth and whatever else was left to do with it.

This project has pretty much gone nowhere since then and I think I just have to admit defeat.

Even though it seems so close to being finished it's still so far away. I just don't care anymore. Creating full custom characters for CTA2 is just not for me. I want to tell stories. I don't want to spend weeks of my life drawing hands and eyes, many of which may never even get used in any animation ever.

Froyd.
However, there is enough of JAC finished that I can feature the character in my own animations, possibly with my CTA1, G1 character, Cool Froyd... I think I have an idea forming...


Hoot Game Creating


This Hoot Game has become a real bane of my existence. I have some really cool graphics and folders of ideas for game play from both myself and TheseStars (who is the whole reason the project came into being in the first place) and I'm still stuck with a broken control system for the Hoot character.

What's worse is I have a 'proof of concept' version of the control system that works but when I try to bring it into the game, it just doesn't.

I've worked on this project as recently as a couple of weeks ago and still can't get the thing to work how it supposed to. It's a real shame because I just know this game would be successful as there's just nothing else like it in the mobile, word gaming space.

I'll keep trying with this one because it really is so close to a break through and I'm really excited to move forward when that happens.


Learning, Learning, Learning...


I mentioned previously that I taught myself how to use Silo 2, a 3D modeling application. Still done nothing with that.

In my last article I documented my trip through learning Reallusion's new CrazyTalk 8. Still done nothing with that.

I've even learned Reallusion's new Character Creator for iClone 6 - which I should review in this blog but it's not nearly as exciting as Reallusion wants you to think. Sure you can make an infinite variety of characters easily but they really need to release a bunch more compatible outfits that can be added and customized inside the character creator... maybe I'll leave that thought for a review. Let's just say clothes are just as important to character design as faces and body shapes.

Oh... and remember I was going to learn Anime Studio Pro 11. Yeah still haven't done that. I know it's really great software. It's powerful and is a great low cost alternative to some of the higher end packages but I just can't get excited for it.

The included tutorials are functional but uninspired. The free video tutorials are all over the place and don't seem to follow any kind of learning path and... the demo animations, whilst I appreciate how good they are, look nothing like any kind of animation I'd want to produce. Just not my style at all.


Hand Drawn Animation Software


Recently I've really wanted to try some ye olde style hand drawn animation but in a paperless, digital environment using my WACOM graphics tablet. My go to for this has been Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) but this won't work on my new desktop computer system for reasons best known to its self.

Looking around for an alternative I discovered FlipBook 6 which looked really promising until the free trial version didn't work how the tutorials said it was supposed to. I'm not game enough to pay for it just to get a working copy because it doesn't look like the software's creators really support it anymore and I'm not sure it works how I want it to anyway.

The next logical step was to look into ToonBoom's Harmony, which is an industry standard tool that I can't afford except as a monthly subscription. To buy a perpetual license is close to US$2000.00 because I'd have to have the top of the line Premium version... why? Let me tell you why...

I downloaded Harmony Essentials free trial version which is the cheapest and most cut down version of the program you can buy. After sitting through a series of the shittiest video tutorials I've ever had the misfortune to sit through for such a high quality product I never want to hear the phrase "this (insert feature here) is not available in the Essentials version of the software" again. A phrase that you just should not hear in tutorials that are labelled specifically for the Essentials version of the software.

That is why I've always gone for the top of the line fully featured version of any software I've purchased. Invariably you'll watch video tutorials and be hit with the reality that your version of the software doesn't work the way you've just been shown because that feature isn't in your version.

Anyhow, I hate subscription services for software with a passion. It's the reason I won't even give Adobe Flash (now known as Adobe Animate CC) so much as a glance. Sure it means you always have the latest version but it's like my drivers license... a pain in the ass, annual expense, that I have to plan ahead for only way more expensive.

I really prefer one time payments because the software still works even if the company has released newer versions before I chose to upgrade... and I don't get locked out simply because I didn't renew a subscription.

Yeah... so Harmony is really nice software, but the Essentials and Advanced versions are crap and the Premium version is too expensive so I probably won't be going that option.

I'm thinking, at this stage, I might be able to improvise something with Manga Studio to draw my cells and use my Springboard Storyboarding software to at least create animatics. Then I may be able to finish things off in Anime Studio perhaps?


I've rambled on enough now. I hope, for anyone that may read this blog you now know why I get in these ruts of not posting for quite some time. With any luck you've found my updates in this post interesting.

I do have some new ideas for projects which I hope to do some work on and document over the next few weeks but I can't promise that will happen.

In the meantime, just know that I'm still here. Why not consider leaving me a comment or suggestion? It would really make a change from the spammers who think their pseudo relevant, disingenuous, back link comments are acceptable blog etiquette.

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