Monday, August 31, 2009

To Share Or Not To Share...

That really is a big question that has been weighing on my mind for years and some recent events have bought it to the forefront. I'm not talking about freebies and such but more so ideas, strategies, tips and tricks. Now being a teacher myself, I think I come to it from a different perspective - it's more natural I guess to share. But in a community, is there an implied obligation of sharing regardless of what is asked? Is the betterment of the community more important than the benefit of the individual? Do individuals not have the right to hold on to their secrets that they've worked hard to develop without being frowned upon?

Anima's Production Diary. Gabe is generously offering some of his strategies on how he creates his awesome sets. In doing so, he gives up some of himself, some of what makes his films 'his' for the betterment of the community. Now in the grand scheme of things for him, these may not be valuable, 'keep it close to the vest' secrets. But what if we were talking about his clothing designs? Now that is something that I'm sure everyone is impressed by and definitely would like a blow-by-blow to know how to replicate. He may choose to share or not. But with something like that, for me, I'm thinking it wouldn't be fair to ask to put him in the position where he might strongly want to say no but feel community 'obligatory' pressure to say yes. And I'm only speaking for myself. Maybe it's because I try to put myself in their shoes and try to empathize the gravity of what I'm asking against what I would like to know. How important is what I want to know, to that person?

I've seen a few posts on YT for instance, not necessarily just for machinima, where a viewer was impressed by something in a video and asks the innoncent question "How did you do that?" Now that 'something' may have been a complex procedure, perfected over weeks or months - that person's pride and joy. They would prefer to not just give it away on a whim - it's a part of themselves that is for them, not the community. So they politely decline to share that information and then the asker posts an irritated reply or nags them again for an answer. And that's what upsets me - when people don't respect the right of a person to refuse. Does anyone have the right to begrudge them that?

I'm not saying not to ask - that's just my personal hangup (which I know I should work on). I would just feel bad imposing on someone and possibly putting them in an uncomfortable position. I'd rather research and struggle to figure it out myself until I truly feel I can't get any further without asking.

But what I am saying is that sharing should be voluntary, not obligatory and people need to respect that. We should all do our part to help the community rise as a whole, yes, but not at someone's expense through pressured compliance.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inspiration Out Of Nowhere...

It's strange. In reading Anima's Production Diary, I remember that his workflow was props first then the story second. Meaning that the story didn't really develop until it emerged from a prop he had created. I thought that working that way would be impossible for me. I always work the other way - have my story fleshed out first, then figure out how to make the props I'd need.

That was until today. Today, oddly enough, I was inspired by a prop. Nothing really spectacular at all about the prop itself, but I just felt compelled that I HAD to find a way to use it in a film - someway, somehow. It's actually kinda embarrassing, the more I think about it, that such a prop has been such a source of inspiration for me - but oh well!

So all day today my mind has been mulling it over - wondering how I can take something insignificant and bring it to the foreground. Then I sat down about 3hrs ago and wrote the lines for a shorty flick. And it is short - but I'm so excited about it. All the filming details aren't fleshed out yet at all but dialogue has always been a key hurdle for me and that's all done!

And even though it's short, it's still going to be a challenge to pull off well, I think. It's like with the less frills you bring, the more what you DO have has to measure up.

And then I come to my perpetual nemesis - voice acting or no? I know what you all will say, but letting go is hard for me, dammit! :) The tone, pacing and delivery of those few lines are key to the whole piece and I can do it perfectly because I know what I want but alas - I'm not a guy. Curses! :) BUT I think this time, I can do it. I'm going to release the iron grip a little bit and allow someone else to do the voice overs for me. No voice morphing this time.... wait... can I take that back?! D'oh!

In any case, I want to wait until iClone 4 comes out before integrating the voice work. I want me some in-program facial animation controls to tinker with! Can't wait! But I can work on the set, perfecting my lighting (also thanks to anima's diary), and designing the wardrobe in the meantime so I can hit the ground running!

'Til next time!

Friday, August 28, 2009

AnimaTechnica's iClone Tutorial...

Shameless pimpage but it so deserves it! If you have iClone, just starting out or have been mucking around for a while but think you can do better, AnimaTechnica's Production Diary is a MUST READ!

Gabe (animatechnica), creator of "The Expedition", is generously offering a detailed tutorial to how he sets up one of his awesome scenes, full of tips and tricks to get the very best out of iClone.

Take your iClone production to the next level - follow the thread!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Freebie G3 Outfits...

Are now available for your downloading pleasure at CoolClones. I've designed three so far - you're welcome to all of them. In addition to the two pics I showed in the previous post (which you can now download - Grey Dragon Gown Download Here, Tan Outfit Download Here) there is also a third dress Golden Flower Gown Download Here. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect...

Well, maybe not perfect but at least better. :) Thought I'd get some more practice in with CloneCloth this weekend. I have to say, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it a bit. Perhaps more accurately, it doesn't scare me as much. :)

I completed two outfits this weekend - one for him and one for her. I'm offering them both up at CoolClones as freebies (just waiting for them to get approved). I'm hoping to make my way through the various cloths and get practice with each of them. It's kinda exciting finally designing my own wardrobe - stepping away from just changing the colours on the original outfits they provide.

But I have to say, designing is deceptively challenging. Creating a simple neckline could take an hour or more depending on the shape, getting the seams to match or maybe adding trimming. Trying to add the illusion of depth and texture to an outfit is also a big challenge that I know many struggle with. But I'm finding that in designing my own outfits, I'm also learning a lot about my photo editor - integrating features I've never used or understood well. Hopefully the more I learn, the better grasp I'll get on this designing thing. All in all, it's good learning fun. :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

On Vacation...

Leaving in an hour... still packing!!! Oy! Catch you all in a week. No internet where I'm going - Nooooooo! How will I survive?

Stay safe!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vertebrate Evil: Excretion - iClone Movie Tribute...

I finally got it done - and before I left on vacation to boot! :) For a Plan B, I'm really happy with how it turned out. In some respects, this version is actually a bit better at showcasing the clothing - which after all is the main focus of the competition.

So here it is - now to finally get some decent sleep! Please watch in HD if you can by double-clicking through to the main YouTube page. Thanks for watching!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Got A Plan B...

Well, I'm feeling a bit better. Wow, I was pretty bitter yesterday - walking around with a scowl on my face, lol. But now, I can sit at the computer and not glare at it with seething betrayal because I finally have a Plan B. It's simple, yes. But I think it'll get the point across while still being engaging. That's mainly why I was peeved - everything about Plan A was linked so well to the poster that I couldn't think of any viable alternative. I had to tweak the poster a tiny bit to match this new version (and no - the boobs stayed the same, lol!) Glad I hadn't officially posted it yet. Something told me to wait until the video was done first, just in case. This version will actually have minimal iClone footage (serves it right... hmm... am I still bitter?). In any case, I think I'll be good to get it done by the end of next week so I'm ok with it. Yay!