Look at that. THAT is emotion. That is rising panic in Tenzin and absolute devastation in Korra. Jinora’s capture and possible demise? Those are stakes. The quiver in Tenzin’s voice? That’s panic, but he’s looking to Korra, his fathers reincarnation for assuance, explanation, SOMETHING. That expression on Korra’s face is panic, terror, and sudden realization that she’s responsible for Jinora’s current state, possibly her death and if she doesn’t close those portals the darkness spreading over the earth and it’s ALL HER FAULT.
THIS is acting. THIS is animation. THESE are stakes. THIS is good. Let’s continue this pattern of work shall we?
We’re not going to talk about the horrendous exposition and dialogue because I don’t wanna ruin a good thing atm
bee and puppycat is not my kind of show but i am going to support it because commercial animation is finally starting to move in a direction that isn’t just mindless babble that is poorly and lazily animated and thought out. artists are getting jobs and making cool things that are just really pretty and creative and if we continue to support shows like steven universe and bee and puppycat and supporting these creative people we can start seeing a real change in this industry. maybe even film animation will catch on if were lucky.
im just really hoping that with things like this going on that we will see some sort of revolution in the animation industry and it wont be ‘just for kids’ anymore and big wig industries wont treat those kids like theyre idiots that can only consume crap like talking fruit and anthropomorphic cars with advertisements plastered on top of it. and maybe well finally get representation (and creators) of different genders and ethnicities and cultures and MAYBE this is just starting something new and something we desperately need and maybe this artform will finally start being one for once in what seems like ages and just maybe animation will be beautiful again
THIS. This is what we need. If audiences and fans want to see more animation geared to older audiences with you know…some semblance of thought and maturity put into them WE HAVE TO SUPPORT CREATORS WHO DO THAT.
See here’s my (probably pretty flawed) line of thinking:
Generations who have grown up from the late 1980’s and onward have something incredibly different about their childhoods than those of earlier generations. Given the freedom from our guardians, we had near unlimited access to cartoons and animation. TV cable stations such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney, and the bonus of home video, DVD and eventually streaming media, we pretty much had animation at our finger tips at any time we were allowed.
But then, at least in my experience, as I got older something changed. The animation I watched was for kids, and it was fun but it was missing something. I wanted these ideas to go deeper and I wanted to see and understand more of the complexities behind characters. None of that depth was there, because those shows were created for audiences I’d ‘grown out of’.
And then I found Anime and Manga. My friends found Marvel and DC and DarkHorse Comics. With Manga and the American comics most of my friends were happy for quite a while, until well…they grew out of that too. The tropes got tired, or while they really loved the scene they just wanted something new. But the thing is there’s NOTHING to fill that void so what happens?
Well some people go to Youtube but there’s not much out there other than AMVs and the random well done short. Finding animated series online that are totally new, well made and well written is tough, and though many want to fill that void they can’t. They don’t have the funding, the advertising, or the time because most of these people have day jobs and make their creations for fun.
My husband and I are working on a project and we took it to an animation festival to pitch it to people. Te response was OVERWHELMINGLY positive, which was awesome! The only down side is no one knew where to put it. The market was there, they knew that, but convincing the people with money to take a show aimed from 16 to 35 that was animated and NOT a comedy was something they didn’t know what to do with. They liked it. They wanted to see it produced. They took it to their higher ups. But everyone came back with the same answer “Where do we put it?”
Unfortunately the entertainment industry is all about money and how you can make more of it. Part of it is greed, but part of it is also out of necessity. Your product has to make money in order for more entertainment to be made. Actors, artists, crews, writers, these literal armies of people have to be paid.
The higher ups at most entertainment companies are scared out of their minds. They are responsible for the success of their brands and if something they’ve poured money into isn’t ridiculously successful or isn’t showing near instantaneous success, then it’s pulled in favor of something else that WILL succeed.
And unfortunately that’s how it works. That’s why favorite shows, good art, and wonderful stories are pulled off air, or simply never get made to begin with. It’s sad, but we can do something about it.
By supporting small artists, backing kickstarters and keeping the demand high for what we want, we can get their attention. For fucks sake, The Annoying Orange got it’s own show because people watched a bunch of it on Youtube. The same can happen for anyone as long as they have enough eyes looking at their product.
It’s time for animation to grow up, but most companies say that there isn’t an audience. Let’s prove them wrong.
Not everyone gets Audrey’s motherly love for her inventions, but that certainly doesn’t stop her from doting on them.
A new screenshot of two of our characters from the project we’ve been working on. Markesha doesn’t quite understand the motherly warmth Audrey shows to machines.
"Why do you treat your inventions like their your kids or something?"
"Because they are my kids, Markesha…well, for now at least."
Here’s an exercise I designed to help people improve their form lighting when they paint.
In 3D programs, you create and move 3D surfaces and light sources that can be adjusted parametrically which makes it much easier to dial in to something that looks right.
But 2D painters don’t have that luxury. So instead, I used TVP Animation Pro, which is a 2D bitmap-based animation program that is sort of like Photoshop, except it lets you animate sequences of animation and is really optimized for speed.
In the image on the left, I sketched out some very SIMPLE head geometry. Yes, I could have gone with high-detail classical anatomical geometry, but it would have killed me when it came time to light it. The same is true for when you have to animate things.
Then I manually painted in a specular pass. I started with the FIRST frame where the light was relatively behind the head, then I created the LAST frame which consisted of highlights on the diametrically opposite side. Mind you, I only did ONE highlight which served as a sort of global light for the overall skull shape. Then I tweened that single highlight.
By ‘tweening’, I mean that I added a blank frame in between the two frames, manually flipped between the two extreme positions of that highlight and guesstimated where the middle position of the highlight would be. It sounds complex, but it actually takes me longer to type out my methods than it does to DO them.
Then I repeated the process for each feature, first the ear, then one eyeball/sphere, then the other, then the nose, then the cheeks, then the lips. Each feature = one pass, going frame-by-frame and adding the specular highlight IF it’s visible and flipping from frame to frame to make sure that the reflection of the highlight is indicating that the ORIGIN of the light source is consistent with all other features of the head.
Sorry that I am using a ton of jargon right now, but this is because this technique is reverse-engineered from 3D software and I have no other words to express it because 3D software is the result of braniac mathematicians and programmers teaching computers how to draw and paint.
Anyways, once I have my specular pass, I can create a new layer and cut out the head’s silhouette with a lasso/filled shape tool. Then I can lock its transparency so that any further painting will be constrained to the silhouette.
And then I use the same tool to blast in my Diffuse pass shapes, ignoring things like the eyes and nose and mouth, but just trying to get the overall head shadow looking right. And then it’s a pass for the cheekbones, then the nose, the eyeballs, etc.
You have to divide up the task for each feature and focus on making the shadows consistent with your light origin in the same way that the highlights are.
So you don’t get good at form lighting by just struggling over a SINGLE image once a week whenever you can drag yourself to do it. You take on a simple task and work through a series of of images that depicts a dynamic shift of parameters so that you can grok the formulas and patterns that drive this natural phenomena.
No, I don’t have any math equations in my head when I do this, it’s more of an instinctual geometric diagram that I visualize. Yes, it’s not very arty and it’s very technical. But then again it’s so easy to forget that many artists during the Renaissance era were also mathematicians and probably huge nerds.
While we were making the pitch book for Kamikaze, we decided to make some test screen shots to show people what we have in mind for the end product. Here’s one of them!
Hey it’s that project I’m working on!
My job on this project has mostly been ink and paint. While this wasn’t one of my favorites starting out, it’s turned into one I’m pretty darn proud of. :D
I took a lot of inspiration from the shading that they used in Avatar and The Legend of Korra, and our hope is to keep that moody shading (where appropriate) through out the show. Hopefully we can! More coming soon so keep a look out and follow our Tumblr or Facebook!
While I love so many of the characters we’re working with on Kamikaze, Audrey is very near and dear to my heart. She’s also really, really fun to draw. Between her chubby curves and her awesome hair she shows up in my sketchbooks as often as Markesha does.
Pink and red are her fave colors, she loves music (hence the band stickers) and she’s super super smart to boot!
One of the main distinctions we’ve kept close at hand while developing Kamikaze has been the difference between “Adult” and “Grown-up” storytelling. While it may seem like a difference of semantics, we believe there’s a real difference and have used that as a guidepost while creating.
To us, Adult content is the blood, guts, sex, and violence. Generally speaking it’s all the content that makes parents uneasy about their kids being exposed to. Grown-up content is the depth and complexity that is infused into the story. Grown-up stories acknowledge and explore the fact that people and events are rarely simple. They revel in the fact that things are complex, messy, and rarely clear-cut. While Kamikaze has some Adult elements, we have dedicated the majority of our focus toward fostering it’s Grown-up aspects.
This isn’t to say we shun Adult content or view it as somehow lesser. After all, this is a show about a girl with lightning gloves set in a world where people are starving to death. It’s just as much of a storytelling tool as Grown-up content. However, it’s ultimately superficial, and if it’s not built on a foundation of Grown-up content, it can feel flimsy or downright ludicrous. It’s also entirely possible to overplay the Grown-up side too. No one likes being lectured to. The real magic happens when there’s a good balance between the two.
One of the reasons for the breakout success of Avatar: The Last Airbender was that in addition to having excellent production value, it did a masterful job balancing age-appropriate Adult content with Grown-up concepts and plot-lines.
We feel as though there’s been a glut of animated shows in the past (and the present) providing heaping quantities of Adult content while neglecting the Grown-up bits. It’s a shame, because animation is great at conveying Grown-up concepts in ways live action can have trouble pulling off.
In some small way, we hope Kamikaze will help change that pattern and inspire the creation of other shows that have a rich balance of Adult and Grown-up content.
Markesha vs. Kamikaze
More art from the show my hubs and I are working on! We’re super excited to share this. Markesha is our main protagonist, she’s a practitioner of parkour, a badass, a devoted daughter and and and…!!!
I’M JUST SO EXCITED TO SEE THIS HAPPENING YOU GUISE!!!