Hey guys, how's your holiday been?
I know it's been a while so I thought I'd give you guys a small update as to what I've been up to.
First there's my little rpg maker game I'm still working on that started as a small thing to blow off steam and is quickly turning into it's own huge project. I released a short demo for it if you want to check it out: https://rpgmaker.net/games/8947/blog/17671/ (This version doesn't have all the correct voices yet and has mostly placeholders.)
I added a boss fight at the end that's pretty tough because you're supposed to be able to have more cave to grind/explore through before hand. You have to have Chieki's Inferno Slash that she get's at lvl3 to even stand a chance. Also, make sure to stock up on items before the fight.
Aside from that I've just been working on stuff from my day job; and I've started messing around with making these live videos of myself drawing stuff:
Also, I finally posted this interview I did on my cousin's radio show a year ago when I first got my animation job. It took me a while to post it because I had to wait to get permission from the station to share it:
But what about Kerslash? No new Kerslash stuff to show yet, but I'm gearing up to start working on the 3rd episode. My original plan was to have the first arc of Kerslash be 5 episodes but I'm currently trying to compress it down to 4 and make the last 2 eps slightly longer than the first 2. Also, there might be a new intro...
So that's pretty much it for right now. I feel like I've been saying this forever, but I'm planning on putting together some animation/flash tutorials on my YT channel in the near future when I have a little bit more free time to spare.
Also, maybe more comics (also, when more freetime)
So I've had this RPG Maker software on my computer for some time and I thought it'd be great to pump out a game while I had some time inbetween animation projects:
It's called Tangerine and when it's all done, it'll probably be around 1 or 2 hours long.
This is actually based on a short little comic I was planning to do a while back, but when I was trying to think of a story idea I figured it was the best fit because it already had a bunch of references to classic RPG's and stuff. All the in game art will be hand drawn because I'm not a big fan of the pixelated tile system.
I like difficult RPG's though, so don't expect this to be a cake walk...
Even though this is just a measely little RPG Maker game, working on it has given me a new found appreciation for the overall design of modern RPG's. Seeing stuff like Grand Kingdom UI design after spending so much time designing the look of my battle system is mind blowing.
I have a bunch of other game engines just laying around on my pc, so who knows; maybe I'll dedicate some time to cranking out a bunch of different games and we'll finally get to see that Kerslash fighting game I've been fantisizing about...
When I get close to being finished I'm going to be needing some voice actors that can say ridiculous things like "INFERNO SLASH!" and have it sound cool. I'm also debating on whether or not to add some animated cutscenes later on, but for now I'm just focused on finishing this thing.
I'll drop a link when I have a playable demo ready...
Episode 2 of Kerslash is up on Newgrounds: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/673680
I would also like to point out that episode 2 of Kerslash had a sponsor! Angry Viking Press is a comic publisher I've done work for in the past. You should check out their site and maybe buy some comics from them: http://angryvikingpress.com/
So I'm sure you're all wonder if it's going to take me another million years to finish the next episode, right? Well the answer is YES.....I mean NO!
Well to explain, I was doing A LOT of freelance at the same time I was working on this; I actually was doing another animated short (that I'm still not allowed to share yet) that was about equal in length and quality to this episode, among other things (like an additional animated short and extra scenes added on to that first one). At that time Kerslash was at the bottom of my priority list because it was the one thing I was working on that wasn't actually paying me money. But things are different now, I work full time as an animator now pumping out things the size of this episode once a month:
...and I'm not freelancing anymore...like EVER. I'm in a position now where I don't need to freelance anymore, and let me tell you, it's a glorious place to be. So ALL of my free time will be dedicated to MY OWN projects; so to answer your question, no it shouldn't take me another 2-3 years to finish the next episode.
But I do appreciate how patient everyone has been and I hope you guys don't think this episode sucks after having to wait so long for it. Thanks again for your continued support.
The only kind of update that matters:
That's right, a release date!!!
Here's a funny story, way back when I first started working on this I was doing my entire animation in a single flash file as oppossed to what I do now; using a seperate file for every scene. Now, with all the hundreds of frames and flash effects and high resolution backgrounds, the flash file for ep 2 is around 800mb and I've reached a point where I can't even preview it anymore. So I'm going to have to do a bunch of tricks behind the scenes to just to be able to export the swf file. This episode will just continue to challenge me till the bitter end...
I'm excited to finally be able to show this to everybody. For me watching this is like looking at a road map of my life for the last 2 years, it's almost unbelievable that I actually finished it.
Welp, that's 2 down, 3 more to go...
Man 2015 has been interesting, here's the abridged version of what I've been up to for the past few months:
So first the good news:
I moved to LA and have had lot's of time to catch up on all the things I've been working on and am planning to release episode 2 of Kerslash some time this summer.
The bad news:
During our cross country drive to California we(my wife and I) got rear-ended by a tractor trailer and had our lives temporarily ruined for a short period of time.
So my plans to stop freelancing entirely have been put on the backburner as we try to financially recover from that situation; But, it still sort of leaves me in a better position than I was in when I was working my shitty job and trying to juggle freelancing part-time and producing my personal projects.
As of right now there is no terrible dead end job getting in the way of me producing art, just freelance which by itself isn't really that bad.
You may have noticed that the Kerslash website is currently down; I can't afford to pay the site host at the moment but plan to have it back up in the next couple of weeks. My current goal is to release both episodes 2 & 3 this year, with both premiering at a con of some sort (I also plan on attending more cons). Finally after spending so much time working on other people's projects, Kerslash is my priority for 2015.
I'm also planning on doing more Let's Draw videos and tutorials and stuff:
I made a new demo reel too, mostly full of freelance stuff I've been working on for the past year for when I apply/bid on jobs and stuff. It's crazy, over a year of my life compressed into 5 minutes:
The last thing I'll mention is my updated website: http://ben-reynolds.com
I've been having a terrible time with wordpress so this is just a temporary place holder until I switch to tumblr...
So that's all I have to report right now; I guess it's also worth mentioning that I am currently accepting non-animation commissions so you can get in touch with me on here or through my email (email@example.com) if you're interested in that. Next update will be a release date for Kerslash Ep 2!
It's funny how our goals tend to change as we grow as artists. When I was back in art school, I was obsessed with doing "cinematic animation", that is to say, American movie quality animation done on 1's. I traced all my holds so that the animation was constantly "moving", I almost never used layers, and I did all my walk cycles on 1's. I learned how to flip my paper and would be constantly adding drawings to get the smoothest look possible. As a result, I was never able to fully complete any of my student films, but managed to pass because of the number of frames used was so high.
Some time after I graduated, I realized that I had a body of unfinished work and that my method was not functional for the fast paced world of freelance. If you're lucky enough to find a client willing to pay you thousands of dollars and wait a year for 2 minutes of animation, then sure that method was okay, but this is an industry built on speed. Quantity versus quality more often than not. And the jobs paid low, too low to justify the effort of drawing thousands of frames for 30 seconds of animation.
So then I went through an experimental period (actually, I think I'm still in this period) where I would try to figure out how to do more limited animation while also maintaining a standard of quality. I looked at a lot of overseas animation, Korean and Japanese animation specifically. I looked at cheap cartoons from the 70's and 80's and tried to reverse engineer their production pipeline; I tried to figure out what they were prioritizing and what they were'nt in order to be able to deliver such a large body of work in such a short amount of time. One major factor I learned, is that more often than not, they were animating on 3's and 4's
It sounds simple enough: lower frame rate and less drawings. Asside from the drawings and artstyle what was the difference between having your motion look like The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as opposed to something like Lupin the 3rd:
Both shows had a really low cel count, and probably had around the same budget. Now I know that Bullwinkle is a cartoonier show that Lupin, but even taking that into account, there's just something about the way the characters move in Lupin that I personally find more appealing than in Bullwinkle and I have a theory as to why:
For one, the Bullwinkle clip has too many key poses and as a result it screws up the timing. There are almost no holds and a lot of unnecessary movement and the staging is very straight forward. They are trying to apply the American "Disney" standard of full animation to a limited production. They are trying to do a watered down version of disney animation instead of altering the process to fit within their limitations.
In the Lupin clip they take advantage of the limited cel count by having the characters quickly snap into a pose and then hold it. Realizing they can't spare the frames to do proper slow in and slow out, they compensate by adding more holds when certain parts are supposed to be slower like the part where Jigen is running from the helicoptor. The timing works so you don't even notice the pauses in the animation where as Rocky's motion looks really awkward when he says, "We're going to have a lot of fun! Come on and join us!". They also save a lot of animation by using holds in combination with dynamic staging, like when Jigen shoots the helicoptor. He holds that pose for a long time.
So you might be thinking that I'm picking on Rocky and Bullwinkle because it's not anime, and that's really not the case. Just look at this Danger Mouse clip. Look how strong the staging is, how snappy the timing is, and how they aren't afraid to hold on a good looking pose. They are doing everything they did right in the Lupin clip and applying it to cartoony animation:
But I do tend to favor japanese animation because they have figured out over time that by paying close and special attention to the timing, posing, and staging, you can fool people into thinking your limited animation is higher quality than it actually is; case in point:
That my friends, is what I am currently trying to master...
I'm finally accepting pre-oders for the Kerslash trade paperback. It will be discounted ($8) and will include a free ink drawing of the Kerslash character of your choosing:
If you want to get in on the deal you can shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "PREORDER" in the subject line, and your mailing info/character choice in the body. I'm only taking PayPal payments though, unless you are somehow able to find me and pay me in person :P
Pre-orders end Oct. 31
In other news, me and my wife started a podcast where we talk about anime and video games and stuff. It's an hour of pure madness, and apparently that makes for good listening:
That's all the plugs I have for now. Back to making cartoons...
I made this a while ago and totally forgot to post it here! OOPS!
Ep 2 of Kerslash is still being worked on slowly but surely; Here's a test I did to figure out some coloring tricks I'm going to be using for it. I didn't upload it here cus' NG folks don't seem to like when I post tests:
The sun is gradually setting between episodes so I totally made more work for myself because every couple scenes I have to change the lighting to make it seem to be getting darker. It's a lot of subtle changes between shots that nobody will probably even notice...or maybe you will now because I just pointed it out.
I used Sonic because...I don't know, it's fun drawing Sonic. This is my basic interpretation of Sonic 2.
I also noticed there's a crazy new bumble bee contest on the Front Page, so I think I might draw Paige in a bee costume for it...
I'm thinking of doing a Q & A type thing for the next Kerslash Vlog, so if you guys have any specific questions related to Kerslash or animation in general, you can post them here and I'll answer them on camera and maybe even give live examples.
I made a new trailer with music by http://emceewhate.newgrounds.com/. If you look hard, you can see a few clips from ep 2:
I also just posted a video of me flipping through my "work sketchbook". Sorry about the audio, it's loud where I work:
As far as progress, I'm still chugging along with Episode 2. I'm at the tail end of the fight scene, so after that I'll pretty much be in the home stretch. I'm almost finished with my freelance thing too, so I'll have a lot more free time to spend on it. My goal is to have ep 2 finished before the end of the summer, we'll see how that works out though...