Early stages on a new series of illustrations around anthropomorphic animals. The plan is to eventually animate from scene to scene. A simple cute sequence to experiment with a look based on the style of this amazing short film, Forms In Nature by Chromosphere LA. http://chromosphere-la.com/work/14/science
At just over three years old my son loves anything that has wheels, goes fast and makes a lot of noise. Cars, boats and planes are great but his favorites have always been trains. His go to phrase right now is “high speed passenger train.” My sketchbooks are sprinkled with drawings of trains for him, so I thought I would make use of them and create a poster for his room.
After blocking it out in illustrator the next challenge was selecting a colour scheme. I'm not too good with colours so I did a bit of hunting around on dribbble.com for some ideas. Dribbble has a great feature which displays a colour pallet for each design. So it wasn't hard to find something I liked, which I ended up editing a bit to fit my what I wanted. The final thing was to add some texture. Using a speckle brush I was able to add some shadows and highlights.
He seems to like it but was pretty harsh in his critiques. He said it's not great because I forgot the power lines and there are no passengers onboard.
The letter C is up!
Im starting a series of Letter illustrations along the lines of "36 days of type." I want to practice my lettering and also learn new illustration techniques. Im a big fan of this heavy noise look so thought I would try it out.
When creating work in after effect I’m always trying to find ways to speed up my workflow and make things easier. So today I wanted to share some of my most used plugins and scripts that help me get the job done.
1. Motion 2
This plugin is my most used and biggest time saver. It's best feature is its easy ease sliders. Instead of going in and out of the graph editor you can make beautiful ease by just shifting a slider. Then add to that an anchor point shifter along with a bunch of other helpful tools. Of these extra tools there are two that stand out, a null creator and a key frame cloner. The first creates a null at the center point between all the selected layers and then parents them all to it. The second allows you to select multiple keyframes on multiple layers and without duplicating layers, basically copy and paste them to where your play head is currently.
Check it out at: www.mtmograph.com/motion/
This one is a simple little plugin but saves so much time. In one click you can create a new null, solid, shape or adjustment layer among others. What's also great is that it puts the layer just above an already selected layer or layers and trims its length to match.
Check it out at: www.aescripts.com/turbolayers/
3. Quick effects pallet
Quick effects pallet is a great customizable plugin that lets you make buttons for effects or presets. Great for things you do all the time like Fill or Levels. To customize you will need to do a bit of coding though. But the files give you a walkthrough which makes it pretty painless.
Check it out at: www.aenhancers.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1590
4. Dojo shifter
Sometimes you want heaps of layers animating on with a little delay or even a bit randomly. It can take a long time but with Dojo Shifter it’s a piece of cake. Select the amount of frames to offset each layer and press go. Alternately you can choose random and the amount of frames it randomises over which is great for quickly adding interest to you animation.
Check it out at: www.creativedojo.net/dojo-shifter-script/
5. BG renderer
Every time I render I use BG Renderer because it's one of the best scripts to speed up your workflow. When your render is ready to go you just click the button and it opens a window in terminal and starts plodding away. You can also continue working on your project when this is happening.
Check it out at: www.aescripts.com/bg-renderer/
Recently I have started Crossfit and wanted to put together a before post to show where I started. Maybe in a couple of months I can do an update to show where I get to. Today is the end of my first month and my biggest take away is that I’m in so much pain! The good kind of pain though, the kind that tells you that you worked really hard and you are improving. I kind of look forward to this pain in a strange way, it's been years since I have felt it.
To improve you have got to start somewhere so I will give you a little rundown of that. At the moment I am about 114kg. I cycle to and from work so not completely unfit but I don’t feel healthy. I’ve been pretty fat my whole life, at my worst I was around 130kg. At that point me and a friend decided to run a marathon. I trained over 8 months and actually managed to get down to around 105kg. I finished the marathon in just over 5 hours. I felt really happy and confident in my body. It was the best I had felt in my life. Just after this my wife and I welcomed our son into the world. Being a parent is huge and took up a lot of my time. I was a massive change in our lives. It meant that I let my running slip and slowly the kilograms crept back. It was really demoralizing to realise I had a better life and I just let it slip out of my hands. I have managed to keep my weight at about 114kg though. Now I feel like I put a lot of effort in but the scales won't budge. So I have decided to pay no attention to how much I weigh, and just focus on improving my strength and fitness.
This is where Crossfit comes in. I really enjoy the intense workouts which are challenging every time. The workouts are never the same and the people are always supportive and encouraging. I know improving my health is a long process. I’m not looking for a quick fix, rather a change to my whole life. Focusing on strength rather than weight. So I am committing to go 3 times a week at 6 o’clock in the morning. Wish me luck.
Removing my phone as a distraction has been working really well. First thing I do once I get home is put my phone in a draw in my bedroom. Every time I have done this I have had a really productive evening. The reason why it works so well is that it breaks the habit of wasting time on my phone. My brain used to be on autopilot, without any conscious thought I am picking up my phone and surfing the web or watching a video. Removing the ease with witch this habit operates, makes it possible to break. Originally the habit looked something like this: Hand in pocket, grab phone and start browsing. Now if I want to surf the web on my phone I need to get up off the couch, go into my room, open the draw, pull out my phone then start browsing. This puts a few extra steps in the way and has effectively broken the habit.
Sometimes I might forget to hide my phone away so on top of that I have added another layer of difficulty. I have deleted my youtube app and hid my browser in a folder. These seem like insubstantial changes but they do help. Now I unlock the phone and see the apps are gone and a switch goes off in my head. I think "Oh yea! The phone is supposed to be in the draw." So in it goes and I get on with the work that matters to me.
This one simple trick has saved me between 3 and 4 hours a each day. Instead of looking at the time and saying "where did my night go? Oh well, just one more video." I now see the time and think "WOW thats early, and I've already finished a blog post." Im getting work done and and reading lots of books (6 so far this year). The more work I do the more motivated I feel, witch in turn means I get more work done. I can't recommend this enough. Get rid of these unhelpful distractions and use the hours you gain working on something that gives you the feeling of accomplishment and moves your live in a positive direction.
I've read a fair bit about procrastination recently because its always been a big issue for me and like everyone I want to stop doing it. So much time has been wasted when it could have been used productively, probably years of my life at this point. Even when I know that doing work will be a huge benefit to my life, I just blow it off to watch a silly web video. Reading all this I've realised that for me its not about laziness, which I always thought it was for me, but about fear. Fear that people will think I am a bad designer with no originality. Fear that my work wont be good enough. Like right now I have a fear that people reading this will think I am stupid and laugh at my bad writing. Its what is getting in the way of finishing my website and even telling people I'm writing on this blog.
I realise this fear is subconscious and I don't even register it as a fear when I procrastinate. Its because switching my brain off and watching a video is easy and sitting down working is hard. So my brain uses this fear to force me down this easy route.
One of the best ideas I have come across to help with procrastination has been from Michael Jones. He's a motion graphics designer who writes about this kind of stuff from time to time. He says you need to make a proclamation to yourself to do your best. This is what he says his thought process is like:
“I need to get this done. Even though I may feel like blowing it off. I said I was going to do it; and I will follow through on this commitment.
I’ll give it my best and focus on the process. I’ll work deliberately to do it at a high quality and have fun with it. If I don’t know how to do something, I won’t panic inside, I’ll do my best to figure it out. I’ll learn as I go and do my best.
I’ll work on this for 60 minutes and then I’ll take a break. I’m going to tune out email, twitter and all other distractions so I can focus on this task.
It’s ok if it’s not perfect, it’s a process.”
I like how this stops the fear of not being good enough. It brings the work into the present as its all a process and I need to focus on this one little bit right now. I like how it says if I don't know something don't panic. I think in the past I've probably stopped working on a few projects because I get to a point where it's not turning out how I imagined it would and I don't know how to make it work. I need to get past that feeling and just work around the problem, maybe change it slightly, then move on. I need to just do my best because it will never be perfect and never be exactly what I see in my head.
I will be coming back to this post to give that quote a read every night before I get to work. Until it is burned into the back of my head.
A big problem I have that gets in the way of working on my own personal projects is my phone. Like most people I always have it with me where ever I go and at all times of the day. It is an amazing piece of technology but there seems to be a gravitational force pulling my hand to it.
WOW. It just happened now. I was momentarily stumped at what to write next and I suddenly found myself picking up my phone and was about to unlock it. I don't know what I was going to look at. Its just an automatic habit that I think a lot of people have. This is a habit I desperately want to break.
My big vice is Youtube and I just constantly watch videos. I feel its worst when I'm tired. After a long day at work and then cycling home, playing trains with my son, house work and then once my son is in bed its around 9 o'clock and I'm shattered. So when i drop on the couch I'm instantly surfing my youtube subscriptions. There goes my night. I think it first became really apparent that it was a problem when one night I realised I had been watching Vine compilations for 2 and a half hours straight. I imagine what i could get done in that amount of time and I cringe at the waste of time. Waste of my life really.
I used to do exactly the same thing with the TV. Then one day I decided to unplug the TV and stop watching it altogether. Because it wasn't easily available I just didn't watch. I need to do something similar with my phone. Maybe put it in a draw in my room, to hopefully break the habit of checking it every couple of minutes. All i know is that if I don't make a drastic change with my phone habits I'm just gonna keep wasting my life on meaningless videos.
I am going to try to wake early and write as the first thing I do. So waking at about 6:30, maybe earlier in the future, and before looking at any texts or emails or media I will sit down and write.
Writing is something I have wanted to do for a long time but its one of the hardest things for me to do. I feel like I'm not a person who writes, like I'm not intelligent enough to do it. So if I do then anyone reading will see how stupid I actually am. I guess in my head I've said to myself that I would start when I was better at it but that is so backwards. I cant become a good writer unless I go through being a terrible writer. Listening to a Seanwes podcast, they had a good point about this. If you look at lifting weights, you don't start out at 100kgs. You build up to that weight over a long period of time. When I think about writing, its like I'm thinking I will start when I can lift 100kg and if I cant then I'm a failure and I'm not going to even try. That's obviously a backwards way of looking at it but when it comes to something like writing my brain seemed to think it made perfect sense.
I'm guessing the reason for this is that my brain is trying to protect me from the fear of being seen as stupid. So starting today I'm going to wake early and write as the first thing I do. Its going to be terrible quality and in a year when I look back I'm going to cringe. But if I want to get anywhere I'm going to have to start today.
Check out the Seanwes episode here: http://seanwes.com/tv/039-it-all-starts-with-writing/
A little background about me, I am a Motion Graphics Animator, Illustrator and Designer. I got a bachelor in Design, majoring in Graphic Design, although I focused on steering each project towards my love of animation. I freelanced for several years before getting a full time job in a small Motion Graphics studio based in Auckland, New Zealand. Tiny would be a better descriptor, there are three of us altogether. The great thing about this is that we often get a whole project to our selves. Projects that require creative work like style boards, story boarding and illustration are my favorites.
I wanted to start this blog for several reasons, the main one is to encourage me to do more work/drawings/animations and post it for people to see. I have had major difficulty with procrastination and just plain laziness. A big reason for this I think is because I am scared what people will say. Im scared if I put something online then people will see that I am actually a really bad designer and look like a fool. Now I don't actually think I'm that bad but thats how my brain works and I hope this helps me snap out of it. I have also never really had an online presence and I realise that if I want to become a better designer and possibly start my own business I really need to change that.