Thursday, February 11, 2016

A renewed call to arms for comics production.

Okay, I have been sitting on the backfield for too long looking for my niche in the Matrix-like entertainment field. Bouncing from this idea to the next without any forward movement.  I have the will, but not the spirit of the game and the persistence to stick to a plan and just get the jobs done and move on.  I did not see clearly how to make comics more viable and comic development projects doable. What is the purpose of the comic book, what is the need for a Cartoon, what is this Movie for, are computer games just  a fairytale wind in my thoughts. I figured, even the big boys are having a hard time making the comic-thing work for them.... 
Well I did say that until the last couple of years.  Now every big studio project is either super hero related or has its initial development in comic books.  I want to use this fever pitch for a new call to arms for ALL COMICS ALL THE TIME. Or even more baseline since the Star Wars event, Star Wars, a Force Awakens.... CREATIVE STORY ALL THE TIME!!!.
The first question, what is your inspiration and why bother. Okay, I just finished watching the new episodes of Young Justice a series canceled from cartoon network. It was shown on Netflix- don’t know if it will continue after 46 episodes but I realized it purpose as a link from the thousands of stories that play out in the comics to the very few that will ever play on the big screen... They keep the audience rabidly waiting for the next block buster movie or video game in play; and if managed correctly, open the market for  more toy and merchandizing sales, and potential curiosity for the original source material comics.  I have seen this time and time again- from Star Wars Movie prequels linked to Star wars Clone wars 2d cartoons. To story fillers and more stories in Star wars Clone wars 3d cartoons series. These kept me in play  for the new start of the post- sequels ( ie starting with the  Force Awakens.)  And I won’t forget the about developing the back stories of the Justice League.

This all seems cool, but how is this a call to arms. The answer is sort of redundant- more story is just more story and more enjoyment that should build on itself. Movies try to go for the one hit wonder right out of the gate- they are heavily influence on the smart execution of hopefully a flawless story.  Novels are a building ground for story usually set upon by  a singular writer.  Comics is the long road to continual story  creations in initial visual form, a poor mans novel to pictures- they don’t need to be fully developed to stand as product.  Animation series are the links between continuous story creation and flawless story-development.  Movies are funny to themselves- some cases, as long as the visuals are world class, some story flaws are over-looked. But if you are looking for a movie to stand the test of time story and character development really needs to be considered at a higher level that special effects.
I believe that comics hold the key to a virtually endless flow of story and character creation. Animation holds the key to story and character development in a film-based format. And movies  hold the value of making the imagery on a massive scale- with  sound FX, music scores, and visual FX. I don’t want to leave out video games which seem to run the gambit of story and character creation, cinematic effects , and stunning game play. 

But all visual medias seem to start with the underrated comic book or at least could start there. But I believe that view can be expanded and this is where I am making a call to Arms for myself to find those avenues of expression  and development that link to those areas mentioned above. Comics, Cartoons,Movies, Video games and other user influenced story platforms... Viable stories don’t have to be of superhero drama, they can be a vast as our minds can take us... Please note the Asian market should be part of inspiration as well...

Monday, May 25, 2015

comic nextra image testing

Trying to work out with 2d image and limited animation for the Comics Nextra projects- here are samples of that direction

Monday, December 22, 2014

comics nextra initiative

The Comics Nextra Initiative is my push to explore the motion comics and digital media. My pursuit in this region is to find what I call a "sweet-spot" between comics and animation and to discover the software tools to make it happen.  I want to see if using software that is not fully identified by industry will work for my purposes.  I am aware that motion comics generally use two types of software- Image creation and processing and motion graphics- on the main stream this means Adobe Products like Photoshop ( which can create and process images) and After Affects (for compositing and motion affects). Yet there are growing competition for comics like Manga Studio  which is trying to be the full comic package solution and alternative to photoshop. Also for content creation which is the key point for motion and digital comics- sketchbook pro is a lightweight alternative or companion to photoshop . For image editing the free alternative to Photoshop is Gimp

After Affects is still the leader in terms of motion comics- most motion comics are traditionally made this way in industry.  I have looked at the possibility of using 2.5D tricks with motion graphics which also is more advanced in after affects which can be seen used most creatively in the works of Daniel Gies in which he gets a 3-D feel using only 2d elements and 2d puppets... So what is the alternative- Note- an actual 3d program using 2d elements- a true 2.5 D solution- and I wish to utilize the most inexpensive program of its kind- Blender.
My mind believes I can create motion movies based from comics and with some of the 3d features now in play expand the storytelling beyond the panels using sketchbook pro, Blender, and maybe Gimp for some image processing.... The technology in my mind is there- the application  and learning curves need to be better understood for production or it will be just development and experiments..
But what of digital comics or moving to APPs that can be supported by players and phones.
this will require a software partner.... so looking online I noted Madefire, a software developer working with independent artists through the Deviant Art community...All needed for this solution are bringing in the assets to the Madefire servers for creating the digital comic with animation and sound.  They also provide a marketplace to promote your motion comics that could be fed to Iphone and Ipad APPtores. Sounds promising to move this direction as well...
My point again is to stretch the venue to a potential competitive  option for public consumption. To give them a little more and not kill your resources in the process...

I have always been a fan of comics and animation and feel I can use and develop both skills... I have seen some cool stand out in this mix.. ie. Bottom of the ninth by Ryan Woodward animations and  Glen Keane's Duet
This work as many others from Disney, and Warner brothers has captured my mind and heart; however, looking at credits for just one piece of work virtually needs large groups of people, lots of software, and computers to produce -and at this point its only me so maybe the way pushed by  Daniel Gies which employs only a couple of well trained individuals armed with state of the art software may work- but what if you can't keep up with that software account- that's me too.... which means I have a lot of training and work arounds to develop to make sense of this directive- my fingers are crossed....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

colors of thought

I am watching an anime  called COLORFUL- and Im getting depressed watching it.  It has varying themes of prostitution, infidelity, family strife, sexual bullying, pornography, and even suicide.  I am generally a positive guy, and when I create art I try to stay in a positive vein.  I've noted that the topic of my art directly affects me. So I give much credit to the Japanese directors. I would like to tell various types of stories but find out I can't due to how they would affect me.  The same has to be stated for actors who play various character roles and make them believable.  I can understand why some people get depressed and take medications who are employed in that field- So i give the highest respect to the story tellers who are not afraid to breach all types of subject matters, even those painful to tell... This will be my next step forward to breach.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

dice image

still playing with blender 2.61 and cycles render- learned some features that change during the cycles rendering process dealing with UV mapping--- one must add all the UV info while in the blender render stage- ie mark seams and export map to image program- and create map image- them while in cycles will show only if the color set up reads image instead of generic color and then the vertex image must say uv map- was a little tricky at first finding the areas to trigger but understand now that the small boxes to the right of a entry have pull down menus that have many material and texture options - similar to the node entries- so i did not have the see an image on the input tabs but it still is there once I pulled the image created back in--- cool

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

tesing image creation with blender-2.61

here is a sample of an image build and rendered in blender 2.61- using new internal add-on renderer- cycles- thanks to blender guru for some tips on how cycles work- this puts me one step closer to creating some better potential images for fx-mulrooney cg....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pat's Comic Manifesto

I have been cruising the internet lately and have noticed a trend in high end comics that seems to have popped up at least at Marvel Comics. We all known that Marvel has been acquired by The Walt Disney Corporation, and to date, Disney has always been a workhorse organization that puts a lot of resources behind its core artists. It is easy to understand why this make them leaders in the industry of animation even though so many small yet significant players have popped up to challenge the giant. It doesn’t seem so far fetched as to believe the same business practices for artist resources would not find their ways over to Marvel Studios....

It also seems apparent to create comics as a pitch product for movies. With the success of Marvel’s Ultimate Avengers, where Mark Millar and Brian Hitch virtually mapped out a movie franchise in comic form including at least one casting choice that made it to the big screen (i.e. Samuel Jackson).. This is reminiscent of another box office franchise- Xmen where Alex Ross’ “Marvels” did a similar pitch 10 years earlier (with Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier).

So if you speculate as I do, it becomes clear that comics- as far as Marvel is concerned will try to expand to kill as many “angry birds” as it can:

  1. set a new standard in comics- make a bigger cinematic push into page layout- if it looks like a movie- it gives Hollywood a look to make it a movie
  2. get more coaching help for Marvel’s key artists ( i.e. crash course seminars and bootcamps that keep artists a head of trends in the industry and capable of becoming longer term working artists. (Howard Chaykins bootcamps- see web companion for Drawing words and Writing Pictures)
  3. a potentially deep artist assistant and clean up staff team- including departments geared toward using sketch-up and packaging group artists that work on promotional and design products- i.e. with design standards to unify Marvels marketing look- or at least take some burden off the artist who use to be asked to do some of these non-sexy tasks...

So are comics now so far removed as to make Marvel a monopoly on talent and virtually non-existent as a potential employer to new upcoming artists? The answer is NO.... but the old methods of creating comics just by instinct are slowly coming to a style basics, theme driven planning and comic design cues are being pushed as to set a new standard of comic production excellence.

Should comics chase movies or is it the other way around. Now that movies like 300, Sin City , Watchmen, and TV shows like Spartacus ( who’s producer is also the director of Spiderman 1-3) have all seemed to grasp at the iconic static image editing concept to become successful works of art on their own merit.

As we have seen over the last 15 years comic based movies have made it big at the box office, even if the comic was not as memorable. Men in Black I&II, 30 Days of Night, Road to Perdition, and many others where movie makers take a concerted effort to tell a great story originated from comics and bring it into media that has been around for up to 100 years. Let me not forget about The Walking Dead- this is a tv show -based off a comic- based of a genre movie called Night of the Living Dead that was based off a book called I am Legend. Can you say circular marketing? This show is hot, Hot, HOT...!

Lets not forget the anime, manga invasion explosion in the United States. The churning house in Japan and other production ready countries have enough image material to last the United States years of previously aired programming as well as new material created weekly.

I was told a story when I started to learn comics about a meeting some American comic professionals had with the Japanese in the mid 90’s. The professionals were flown into Tokyo, treated like kings and sat down in meeting with Japan’s comic community. Even after all the pomp and fan-fare prior to the meeting- the professionals were brow-beat in the meeting and asked why comics as an industry in America wasn’t as big as it should have been, and how could it turn around? The comic professionals had no clue how to change the trend... so the Japanese thanked them and promptly sent them home.

I don’t know what the Japanese learned in such meetings- but within 10 years anime and manga had flooded the US without apparent competition. Now, another 10 years later (2011), American youth still believe its the best thing since slice bread and the wheel. And I have just heard rumblings in my community, that anime conventions may have a chance to envelop comic conventions as the greatest show in town....

If I were to analyze anime and manga (hopefully with all respect) I would say on the pro- side it involves stories and plots that are more universal that current western comics. There are few mainstream western comics that will embrace young women and girls as main characters as much as Anime and manga does. And after many statistics in the American culture determined, it is girls almost 2-1 that are the comic readers of today. Anime and manga tend to work on mood, environments, and cinematic storytelling, while American artists are more keyed into character design and action based storytelling. Much of genre based comics that may compete with manga are deemed indy and are marginalized either due to little marketing monies or product quality inconsistencies. On the con side for western comic purists- the character design for manga is more minimalistic, and cartoony than western non satirical comics---

This may be a cultural thing that anyone could speculate on...America: Comics back in the day were usually a young boys form of entertainment... Since America had a thriving cinema base- comics were deemed as a poor mans entertainment....Comics were born out of the commercial illustration design era where many artists (from Marvel/DC line) were originally commercial artists or influenced by illustrators who practice realism as the standard. Since comics were not as controlled as other media, they were constantly hit by censors and McCarthyism of the 1950’s that made it weaker still...The fan boys of the past became the comic artists of the future- not growing the female market....comics were eventually relegated to specialty stores that became few and far between during bad economies.... Japan: Manga became a main source of creativity and entertainment soon after WWII where much of Japan’s movie industry was destroyed in bombing raids. Anime also became an economical entertainment base to replace their movie base. Since Manga was not shunned as low-brow entertainment- it flourished to encompass multitudes of genres that spanned from very young readers (male and female) all the way up to seniors customers. Much of their anime is based off manga- so a product churning industry that can be exported worldwide is constantly available. Also the manga look- a combination of Walt disney, Popeye, and Felix the cat- early on- then more graphic base imagery as time went on, has been branded worldwide. This “draw-along” style makes it more accessible to the masses than spiderman or xmen...

Don’t let me forget the dark-horse of the debate which has a chance to trump all comers- video games and web media played on consoles, computers, and hand held devices. I put them together because they are all interactive- making their repeat playability, reuse, and re-visit stats more viable than any comic book, manga, anime, of film. Once artists and programmers truly embrace each other in these medias- there may be work for all and potentially change as well. I have not truly ventured to understand all the potentials, but will keep up the research.

So where does that put me- a mechanical engineer, formally trained in comic layout design, learning digital graphic tools, originally and still considered a cartoonist, and still dream of being a film maker of cartoons and live action- hmmm...

Given the above background into on the industry- I will try to pursue as many revenue streams as possible-even if markets accepting my work are abroad.. It will still all come down to concept, story, visuals, and ultimately production... I wish to produce products that have a wide appeal and not a narrow band of acceptance. I am willing to work in comics if it makes me a better artist and desire storyboarding, layout, and visualization if I get a chance to work in cinema..... ultimately I love to draw and want to see if I can be the best!

CPJ 11/23/2011