Sometimes you forget the value of just play. No agenda, no jobs to get, no clients to please, just… play. And when you remember… it is so much fun! And I love particle generators, dynamics, all of it. So these are just little dorkings around, just getting the feel of the tool. Like learning the particular quirks of a pen or pencil, just… a little more digital. This is purely in After Effects, using the Stardust plug-in from Superliminal.
A couple of months ago I just started dorking, making looping stuff for Instagram while waiting for client feedback. Some of it was born of the frustration in seeing that certain styles are lauded, and it becomes about mimicking, not craft. Some of it was just born because… well it’s a big old digital sandbox, right?
It’s simple, really. A walk cycle. Nothing fancy. A classic animation exercise every animator ever has to do. But when you have fallen into the world of motion design, while you are still animating, you tend to leave good old fashioned character animation in a dark corner, sniffling and gathering dust. Also, notably, I am not a great rigger, and to truly animate well, it is enormously useful to have a well-rigged character to do it with. (Yup, I am sticking with that excuse, yup.) Enter Franklin, a free rig from Artella, who is a joy to work with. After stretching out his legs a little (quite literally,) I am excited to see what else he will do.
I venture onto Skillshare from time to time to expand my skillset of a more illustrate-y graphic nature. A pretty ordinary walk cycle, closely mimicking the base design of the original tutorial.
And furthering it along, a little lip sync fun. I haven’t gotten to do THAT in a while…
I finally had some moments to breathe and start mucking about with Maya’s new MASH engine. And then throwing on ridiculous shaders and cranking up mental ray and throwing in fun lights and splitting into render layers and oh my some 4K rendering fun. No reason, just playing. As I keep playing, I am adding these onto a more formal project page on my main site. But hey, why not post them twice? Something about twice as nice?
Once upon a time, I went to graduate school. An art school. A school revered around the world. And I worked very, very hard, and took all the advice and wisdom given to me by my favorite and most admired professors very, very seriously. Sometimes to a fault, but there is more on that later. I went to an art school that was, for lack of a more eloquent term, very “arty.” Commercial ventures were not outright sneered upon, but everything I studied was postmodern poststructuralist digital interactive using this new medium to create art that lives only in galleries or the occasional public space, drinking in theory, discussing the ideas and conflicts in the art world with regards to digital, as it related to the questioning of the validity of photography and film when those emerged, as they could be mechanically reproduced, and how did that affect the intrinsic value of the artwork and… well… you get the idea. It was graduate school. A wonderful bubble where these things were all you considered.
But here’s the thing. I never felt like I was ‘arty’ enough. I like creating characters. Concrete ones. Silly ones. Serious ones, but still… I am not exactly the Ellsworth Kelly of digital art. And so somehow I always, despite the encouragement of my professors, felt like I really did not belong. I was never the one who was about to create a large interactive digital space. But I kept thinking I had to be that person to justify my spot in that program. I had to be that Artist with the capital A. I had to be someone that I am not, at least in the way I thought they thought of me. One of my most influential professors told me I would become a famous artist in my own right, and that I should never work for a major studio because I would then be owned by them. I took that advice very much to heart, even though I still tried applying to Pixar and whatnot. Then I moved to Chicago.
Working in the digital realm it is easy to forget about the analog world, that world where you commit pen to paper and there is no undo function. This was a 25 minute sketch just to jog the part of my creative brain that existed before branding and clients.