Well, there it is. I finished up MGS3 this weekend. It took 81/2 pages of notes, 24 days, with 25 hours of recorded game time. (Actual game time was probably somewhere around 50, I would guess, since I would have to restart if I was spotted, or died during a boss battle.)
I only shot 56 of the 64 Kerotan frogs; but I did collect all of the food items, got all of the boss camos, and received the stealth camo. I counted 60 areas of gameplay.
Of course, all of this is amateur stuff compared to speedruns like these:
I’ve only just discovered that these even existed, but I can’t believe the planning and execution that would have to go into a speed run (or speedrun, I’ve seen it both ways) like this.
Now, after watching these speed runs, here’s what I would love to see. Let’s take MGS, the 1998 Playstation version; get all of the cutscenes, all of the codec conversations that are vital to the plot, and a speed run like Powells; then cut them together so that you could watch it like a (really long) movie. And do it for each of the games in the series. I would buy those on DVD.
That’s my million dollar idea for the day.
Oh, and if I were Konami, I would create a tour, so that you could go see these guys live, in-person, when they’re making a record breaking run.
Look at that. Two million dollar ideas in one day. Not too shabby.
Here’s a look at a sketch done in preparation for my piece for an upcoming art show. Be warned: “Thar’ be crazies on that link!”
The theme I’m participating in is Peanut People; right now the name of my piece is Peanut Gallery. I’m going to draw gobs of characters from fact and fiction.
Here’s a color version of Peanut Spidey.
As always, you can click on the image for a closer look.
The inks are too heavy; too lifeless; no thicks and thins; no line variety in general. (Inks were done in Macromedia Freehand, by the way. I used the variable stroke pen tool. If I had it to do again, I’d use the Bezier pen tool. More control.)
I’m fairly happy with the color job. Also done in Freehand.
I’m pretty sure I heard about Gonick from one of Scott McCloud‘s books, and you can visit Gonick’s website, but I’m curious about Gonick’s own history. I haven’t really dug up anything on the internet, though…
Why I haven’t been updating; told in a single image:
I picked it up the day after my birthday, but, to be fair, I haven’t been playing it very much. What I have been playing are MGS 2 and 3, and I’m glad I did, because I didn’t remember half of the story. (You can download the Metal Gear Database onto your PS3 to catch you up, story-wise, and I did, and it’s well done, but it’s been a lot of fun going back into these games.)
I breezed through MGS 2 in about 15 hours, but I’ve been taking my time going through Metal Gear 3, which is simply a flawless game. It’s so immersive; the sounds of the jungle, the slow deliberate gait of the KGB soldiers scattered throughout the game, the rustle of movement from nearby jungle creatures, and that’s even playing it on my old RCA (so old I needed to buy a video converter to plug the PS3 into it) with just the one little buit-in speaker in the corner. I can only imagine playing on a system with surround sound.
Unfortunately, taking such intense care with MGS3 has made it seem a little like work of late, so I’ve been distracted this past week with another birthday present, “The Pixar Touch” by David A. Price.
It’s terrific. As a Pixar wannabe, I’ve gleaned a lot about Pixar’s process from watching the DVDs (which at their best are loaded with extras and therefore kind of a home film school, and at their worst, they’re the Cars DVD), but a lot, and I mean a lot of it, I didn’t know;particularly about Pixar’s early days (Ed Catmull is an extraordinary genius), the circumstances which led to Lasseter’s hiring (Lasseter is a staggering blend of talent and ambition), and the copyright infringement trials surrounding Monster’s, Inc. (I was completey unaware of the two separate trials at the time).
Here are a couple of crowd shots from the show. We had a great turnout; an incredible number of people really. I also have a bunch of shots of the show that my friend Binh took. I’ll be trying to post those in some fashion as well; the image files are huge, but I’d like to post as many as possible. Maybe it’s time to research flickr?
Binh’s a better photog, so I’ll bet he’s got better shots. Here’s another one, though. It was great to have so many people; and so many people buying tshirts, especially since the proceeds went to charity.
And what the heck. Here’s one more. This guy really loved his tshirt. And why not? It’s a sweet T. I bought one, myself.
More photos tomorrow; as soon as I figure out the best way to post them.
I also added a little bit of Herocaps behind the scenes. There’s a link on the sidebar.
On the left is the Hulk Herocap and on the right is the Eggman Herocap.
They really look great. Thanks again, Don, Ryan, Binh and my mom, too, for all of the help. The Herocaps debuted tonight, at the art show at Hot Shops.
The show was a great success. Thanks to all who attended, thanks to all who participated and thanks to all who organized. I think we sold quite a few tshirts and all of the proceeds are going to charity, so it was really a great event. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow; when I have time for a lengthier post.
I took these photos with a camera I just received for my birthday. It is the HP Photosmart R847. You can read about the camera, here. It’s not a very good review, but I suspect that the camera will be fine for my purposes.
At any rate check back tomorrow, or rather later in the day today, for photos from the art show; and an added behind-the-scenes look at Herocaps.
The lack of posts has been due to the heavy workload trying to get Herocaps launched for the art show on Saturday.
I’m going to keep today’s post short; it’s late at night and I’m fried from the string of late nights spent scrambling to finish.
Both Don and Binh have both pitched in during crunch time with a huge amount of help. I wouldn’t have made it otherwise. Thanks, guys. Much appreciated.
Here’s a peek at the decals I’m using for the Eggcap; if I had more time; they look really turned out beautiful. The colors are rich and deep, and the glossy finish really looks snazzy. Click to enlarge.
I printed off two sets of his features just in case anything happened to the first set.
You can see the paper mock up I did before printing on the adhesive paper. There’s also the sketch I did on a sheet of paper that I curled around the cap to get a sense of the design and placement of the stickers.
You also might have noticed the Marvel sticker on the decal sheet. That’s for the Hulkcap box.
But first, here’s a look at the finished Indy 4 Fan Shirt. Indy 4 the Movie was a disappointing failure on a variety of levels, but the Indy 4 Fan Shirt looks terrific!
Merry, my printer on these shirts, once again did an incredible job; and she’s great to work with. It seems I’m always on a tight deadline, I always have last minute changes; and she is always there to get me through it. Thanks Merry! And even though the movie wasn’t very good, you can still get the wallpaper version of my Indy Fan Shirt. You’ll find it on the sidebar under the pages heading.
Now, for the Mysterious Connection Between the flaw-filled Indy 4 and the flawless Back to the Future.
If you’ve seen Indy 4, then you remember the sequence of the film where Indy found himself in the fake town set up at the heart of the nuclear testing and has to hide in a lead lined refrigerator to shield himself from the blast?
Well, about five or so years ago, I read an early draft of the screenplay for Back to the Future, back before the Bobs, Zemeckis and Gale, had conjured up the storytelling solution of the lightning bolt, the clock tower and the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to power the DeLorean.
In fact, the time machine wasn’t even a DeLorean in this version. It was a refrigerator and it was nuclear powered. Doc and Marty have to get the refrigerator to the only place where nuclear power is available back in 1952; the nuclear testing site out in the middle of the desert, where the military has set up…you guessed it, a fake town; complete with mannequins, to study the effects of an atomic blast. Marty has to climb into the refrigerator/time machine to get sent back to the future. There’s even a moment when Doc Brown is worried that it won’t work and hopes that the leadlined fridge will be enough to protect Marty from the blast…sound familiar?
Zemeckis and Spielberg are buddies, so I’m sure that it’s no coincidence, and it’s interesting to see an idea that wasn’t used get recycled twenty years later. And as I’m writing this, it occurs to me that they may have talked about this previous version in the behind-the-scenes extras on the DVD set…
Of course the clock tower and bolt of lightning are a much more elegant solution for Back to the Future. The clock tower, after all, gives them a visual representation of time; as abstract a concept as there ever was, and since Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies, it’s good to know that it wasn’t formed whole; that the Bobs had to write and write and rewrite to pound out such a beautifully flawless flick.
I wonder if there’s any other cinematic examples out there of unused ideas getting recycled into later films? I seem to remember a dream sequence that went unused in the first Toy Story, only to be revived for the sequel. That’s the beauty of working on a project, you soon have more ideas than you can use; allowing you to recycle your own stuff…
Anybody else have any examples of creators recycling their own ideas, cinematic or otherwise?
And you know, I must have seen this image a thousand times and never noticed the boats before. And, just look at that sea spray. Do you see Mt. Fuji in the background? It took this Wikipedia article to point it out to me.
If you’re half as geeky as I am, you can continue to delve even deeper into Hokusai, here.
Hellboy: Behind the Scenes > Hellboy: The Movie. Look of the flick? Fantastic. Perlman and company? Terrific. Abe Sapien? Beautiful. The movie lacked creepiness and subtley. Kronen should have perfectly fit that bill. He should have been in the shadows the whole flick. And when you hear the ticking of the clock, you know that you’ll never see the killing stroke. Since the rules for sequels is bigger and louder, I can’t imagine Hellboy 2 will solve the problems.)
Anyway, here are a couple of doodles I made while watching the BTS last week:
I really like the little guy in the upper right hand corner of the second photo. It was worth a lot of crappy drawings just for him. Weirdly shaped head dudes are ok on the first one.
This latest header image, the monk, is my favorite so far, so I’m going to leave it up.
Coupla weeks ago. The comic book store; after a few pints. It’s the last place you’d expect an epiphany.
Buddy Don is scoping out the Star Wars action figures; I’m whining about work.
Don picks up an action figure based on the Ralph McQuarrie concept art. The toys themselves look pretty chintsy, but most toys do. The packages, however; loaded with McQuarrie’s artwork, look terrific.
“The trouble with working at a tshirt shop,” I say, “all I ever get to design is tshirts. I don’t get to learn anything else. I’d like to try some package design.”
Don looks at me like I’m an idiot.
“Then design an action figure tshirt,” he says.
Epiphany: I am an idiot.
It’s up to me to learn what I want to learn.
Because I’m an idiot, a week goes by before I realize I need to scrap my idea for the upcoming art show and instead design a package for my Hulk Herocap, (Herocap origin for another day) and enter that in the show.
I start to take a closer look at the construction of boxes. I make a trip to Wal-Mart and pick up a Spider-Man Mighty Muggs. (The colors on the Mighty Muggs boxes are appealing; if a little flat. I love the top panel, with the close up of Spidey’s Eyes, but overall, the boxes are a little boring. Why have a static image of the exact same thing that’s in the box? The box design should be more than appealing; it should be exciting. But the packages do feel very solid, not at all flimsy, which I like.)
I do a little package design research online: to try and learn techniques for cutting the boxes so i get a nice smooth line; if I have to worry about the ink bleeding, where I can get a plastic mold insert to secure my Herocap in the middle of the box. I find a couple of interesting sites: The Dieline and Package Design Magazine, but I find little on the nuts and bolts of making your own boxes.
I am on my own.
I start drawing up templates for the box on graph paper.
You saw some of the artwork for the Hulk box last week.
I learn a lot from the box of a Dashboard Monk that Don’s brother Les gave me.
I learn even more from finally putting together a mock up of my own box.
Here’s the artwork. If you take a closer look ( by clicking on it), you can see that I don’t have flaps on the side panels, and you can see that I ran out of room on my graph paper; so I didn’t have a back panel, which was going to be fine, because I would cut it out when I cut out the cardboard backer.
Only, when I cut out the panel, I cut it out an inch shorter than it needs to be; so I end up with a, what, parallelogram? With the front panel one inch wider than the back panel.
After I put it all together, I color in Spidey’s mask with a magic marker so that it’s brighter. The cross shape is the graph paper glued onto a cardboard backer. What you can’t see is the giant glue glob resulting from my clumsiness. What you can see is that the box is just too big for the Hulk Herocap prototype. Don’t worry, I will be making up a Spidey Herocap.
The cardboard interior felt dark, so I added a sheet of paper to brighten things up:
You can see here where I had to trim the top of the box to run (semi) flush with the side panels.
I kind of like the box shape. I think I’m going to use it; just flip it around so that the small panel is in front…Failure is the perfect teacher and I learn a lot.
Design a smaller box. Set up a cutting and gluing station separate from your drawing table. Be sure of measurements.
Ooh, all of you lucky dogs out there are getting a sneak peek!
I’ve been working on (well, not so much working on as, mostly thinking about) a new big project for the art show coming up June 7th.
Here’s a first glimpse at HERO CAPS…the future of uncollectable collectibles.
Don’t tell anyone, but this is a glimpse at the artwork for the limited edition ultra-rare Hulk Box. Just one of a kind. It won’t be like any other Hero Caps box!
If you look close in the upper right hand corner of the picture you can see I’ve started working on the real Hero Caps boxes. The Hulk Box was just a crazy idea….ooh, inside, I was going to have a puny Bruce Banner Cap, but it would be even cooler to have a Hulk Brain! Wonder where I could get one…
After taking a look at this artwork, I know that this is just a rough draft. The Hulk just doesn’t look ANGRY enough to me…he looks more confused, or astonished…
You can click on the picture for a closer look, you know, if you’d like.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why it is you’ve never heard of a Hero Cap, it’s because I invented it! My buddy Ryan came up with the name, and my pal Donnie (of penguin fame) helped shape the first Hero Cap with a precision-dependent heating system.
Boy, I can’t wait till I’m all done creating them. They’re the perfect collectible for keeping in the box!
I just got Binh’s Perspective shirt back from the printer, and boy, do they look terrific. (See below for a lengthy post on the process behind the design.
It was Binh’s birthday today, so I was able to put a shirt in his hands, which is a great feeling. And he saw the Short Round design, and really wants one, so I guess I’ll be printing up a half dozen or so of those after all.
I don’t have time for a longer post, so here’s another one from the archives.
I love the contrast of having a huge and bitter cap with skinny, young, and naive Spidey. The hopeless dreamer in me thinks this would be a great story, but when will I ever work on it?
It’s no fun when a blog doesn’t have regular posts; so here’s a couple of sketches from the sketchbook archives..
I used to work at a bookstore that had this great-looking clock in it…
Sometimes we weren’t very busy, so here’s the chair I could sit in… It really is a chair; not a stool; at some point the back broke off of it. So, since it doesn’t have a back, maybe it’s a chair that did become a stool…and I guess I kind of make note of that in the sketch text.
It’s always a special treat to be able to fire off a sketch at work. You’ll probably see more of these Archive posts whenever I don’t have a chance to properly put something up.
I think I did these on one of Enrico Casarosa‘s Sketchcrawl days. Enrico is a storyboard artist working at Pixar.
I had every intention of going to bed early tonight, but I don’t want to miss posting, particularly if I don’t have a good excuse, so I’ve been busy constructing today’s post about the process of putting together a tshirt design for one of my best friends. His birthday is coming up.
Process fascinates me; I love to know how it is that people work; so here is how I work. Sometimes. Other times I work quite differently.
My friend Binh mentioned a line he had heard recently; one of those bits of wisdom that gets tossed around, and he said he’d like a tshirt made out of it. I jotted it down on a handy napkin, doodled an accompanying sketch and it never got any farther than that.
I think that was about two years ago. Here’s the napkin:
About five months ago, I found the napkin and decided it was time to get something concrete down. My initial thought was the text would be very polished; very solid and the worm would be done a little looser; sketchier… maybe show the worm without the hook, and suggest his ultimate fate with an image of a hook on the back….
That would be the front of the shirt…this would be the back…
I thought I was off to a good start, but I wasn’t wowed… And was it necessary to split the design into a front and back? If someone just read the front, or just read the back, would it make sense to them? I couldn’t justify splitting the design into two separate images, so I decided to combine them; toying with the idea that the worm would make a great visual substitute for the “I” in life. I’m now a little sickened by my attempt to be so clever.
I’m also not thrilled with the the fact that the horizontal line has no other purpose in the design other than to divide the text.
I reluctantly eliminate the hook, enthusiastically eliminate the horizontal line and eliminate a color. The design works; but it’s not wowing me, and I also miss the implied messiness that the brown brought to the image. So decide to bring it back as the shirt color. I needlessly add white to the design. The results are ugly.
So ugly in fact that I give up. For a day. Then, while at work, it occurs to me that the earth worm needs dirt to wiggle in.
Unfortunately, the dirt is the only part of the design that I like, now. In fact, I have grown to hate my thick-lined poorly drawn worm.
I decide to get reference.
Here is the uninspired result that reference brings. Inexplicably, I have made the worm navy and my dirt has disappeared…
At this point, I like the font for the word life, but hate how spread out and open it looks around the circle. The worm is almost interesting at this point, but the colors aren’t working for me. Everything looks so blah on a white shirt, and while the bottom line of text wrapping around the circle is nice, it really makes the the second half of the line seem like it’s just dangling out in the middle of nowhere. And I still miss the messiness of the dirt.
I abandon the design, and it’s a good thing I do, because I’m about to make a huge leap and the only way I could make that leap; a leap that is both forward and back at the same time; is with time away from the design. I’m lucky, there’s no deadline on this job. Time is a luxuy I can afford.
So, one night, on the way home from soccer, it hits me. It hits me not quite fully formed; but close.
The backwards leap I’ve made is to the chocolate shirts, and one color. I’ve brought back the dirt and added a distress layer to messy things up a little. I’ve flipped the direction that the worm is facing; giving some much needed contrast to the orderliness of the my font choice for the word Life.
I’ve now broken up the sentence into four distinct sections. Life is big and bold, so the eye heads there first, then follows the curve of handscrawled text to the head of the worm; where we begin to read left to right again. The smaller words TO and A are smaller than the word WORM, and so I make them physically smaller. The word DIGGING is more active and descriptive than the rest of the words on its line; so it too gets to be physically larger.
The hand-scrawled quality of the last line provides emphasis, much in the way that italics do in the body of a sentence.
Everything is really working for me now; so I further refine the design.
I eliminate the dirt from the design, deciding that the distress is messy enough, though I raise the distress above the last line of text so that it doesn’t lose any emphasis.
I pull the worm in closer to the word life, giving the design an almost “R” shape. It’s much more visually interesting than the previous arc-shaped incarnation. Because the worm is now overlapping some text, I outline it in shirt color to add separation.
I wrap the text around the worm-shape…it’s not perfect, but I think it still reads. Another weak point is the new area of trapped negative space between the LI in life and the body of the worm. I try to fill it as best I can with “to” and “a.” It is almost successful, and I enlarge the word worm, but, man, that’s a big comma. The last lines remain virtually unchanged.
The “finished” product is by no means brilliant, but I really think it’s working. The distress and the worm itself give a contrast in texture to the bold block letters. The handwritten text provides emphasis. The eye gets pulled all around the design, but I don’t think it is ever confusing. It reads; and has an interesting shape.
But maybe your analysis will be different?
Well, this post went on much longer than I thought it would, but its been fun writing about how this design came together (or not, if you disagree); I don’t get to delve much into thought process at work; so this has been an interesting exercise.
If you’ve stayed with me this long, thanks for your time.
My friend and bro-at-work, Don, has been making and painting penguins for about a year and a half or so. Everywhere he goes, he sees penguins; then he meticulously paints them, (sometimes with nothing more than a nail, well, and some paint) and shares them with the world. Here’s one he made for me out of the six-pack packaging from one of my favorite ales, Third Stone Brown, from Empyrean Ales.
See, how it says Bro Tone? What a perfect Screentone tribute. Don, I’m honored.
And I wasn’t going to post this at all, since I hate it, but after showing you the sketch, it wouldn’t be fair to not show you the finished product. Besides, now I don’t have to hate it all alone; you can hate it with me!
Last night I attempted to upload a Quick Time video of a very short animated short I made in school, but WordPress wouldn’t let me. I’m going to have to do some more research, it looks like there’s a workaround, but I may not like the compromise.
Anyway, until I figure out the problem, here’s a post-it note sketch of my next Indy fan shirt. I might not produce it, though, since the new movie could answer the very question that the sketch poses.
Maybe I’ll like the result enough, though, that it might work without the text…
I might have a look at the finished version later tonight.
Oh, yeah, before I forget, when I was doodling Short Round, my friend Grant at work suggested I give him bangs, and boy, was he right!