Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homestuck



For those unfamiliar with MSPaintAdventures, you're really doing yourself an injustice by not acquainting yourself with it. It's quite possibly the most brilliant web comic I've ever read that really takes advantage of the medium. Unlike most webcomics you find out there it's not about "my whacky, youthful, cynical life", or reviews on games, or more so just still images. Andrew Hussie takes it to the next level. He adds animation to a comic where I have always wanted to do and hoped to see sprout where it has so obviously been waiting to be sown.

Thanks to this amazing comic Max and I did a homage to some of his characters for Halloween, when it was disgraceful that no one knew who we were. For those that do not know who we are in these pictures, it's time for a change. DO yourself a favor and go to www.mspaintadventures.com

Monday, July 12, 2010

How I broke the water temple

I am not the stuff of walkthroughs, but I can provide a little cheat I discovered in order to power through Ocarina of Time Master Quest. Now I know there probably aren't many out there at this point playing the game, but just in case I felt it should be posted.

So this is how you beat the water temple without ever having to change the water levels: Once you enter the water temple equip your lead boots and sink to the very bottom of the temple. There should be two available doorways to go through. Head for the one that doesn't have the massive pit in front of it, go a little to the right and there it shall be. Once you enter Princess Ruto is there to pout about her everlasting princess love and other forced proposal things and then tell you to follow her to change the water levels. As you drift upward there are three levels. Before you reach the surface you should see a level that has a big hole in the wall. Swim toward the ledge and again equip those lead boots (as if you needed reminding). There will be a stone slate directly in front of you on the far wall. Get out your hookshot and hit the slab. A chest will appear. Now as you know, you can't open these chests underwater, at least it didn't let me when I took the normal approach. Instead of deserting my post I took the hookshot out and latched on to the chest, mashing A the instant I got close enough to it. This forces the chest to open and when successful you get an amusing distorted chest open fanfare song. You now have the longshot! You will be able to access all the other necessary rooms in order to beat the dungeon, however if you're going for 100% completion then you will miss some gold skulltulas. Otherwise, thank you lord I don't have to put up with the notorious pain that is the water temple.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snowlax






So as many of you most likely have heard by now the greater DC/ Maryland area has been slammed with snow this February. In our area we've gotten about an accumulative of 72 inches of snow. I know there are plenty of you saying "sure we get that every winter, no big deal you sissies", but here in Maryland it is most certainly nothing to sneeze at. I was trapped indoors for the majority of the week, but once the roads were cleared and I could get back to work I just felt I needed to take advantage of the abundance of white stuff. With some encouragement from some friends on facebook saying I should "Do iiiitttttt!" with no clue to what it was, other than something possibly involving a flame thrower, I started out on a mission to make some sort of snow man. The only suggestion was a 100 foot snowman and that wasn't happening, so I thought of the next best thing; which brings us to the point. I made a Snowlax. More specifically a Snorlax made solely out of snow. I don't think that it's quite to scale, but it's bigger than me and that's good enough.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Old Market Woman


Something I discovered that was a real shock to me during my SCAD years was just how much I enjoyed Art History. There may have been the occasional naps when the rooms were cold and dark and the slides were running, yet if I could help it I would always remain intent on the speaker. Never did I have a bad Art Professor, infact I had fantastic professors. Dr. Butz, Dr. Benson, and Ms. Jefferys were all amazing women. Though it may not appeal to many there was so much I got from them and I thought I would post my last research paper, which I found out was on a subject seldom studied, so I felt I may have made a substantial theory and mini research thesis. It's a meek 8 pages long, but if you're interested in Maeneds, older women without inhibitions, and mad orgies where men were torn apart, then please read on.


Ancient Art History,


Old Market Woman

When we think of classical Greece and ancient Rome what likely comes to our minds are magnificent ordered worlds crafted of marble that were the building blocks to the model of the modern civilization we live in today. We also think of massive temples, pagan cults, and the aesthetic archetype of the human body. Like so much else in the world there is more to Greece and Rome than meets the eye. In their sculptures one can find millions of questions and answers to their greatest mysteries and secrets. One such statue to generate this is the Old Market Woman. The Old Market Woman ( figure 1) is nothing like what one would expect from a Greek statue. The Old Market Woman is an example of realism that evolved in the Hellenistic times, as well as a votive statue to the god Dionysus, and a woman that can be compared to a drunk.
To begin the evaluation first one should present the statue’s estimated history and physical descriptions. Old Market Woman is a marble sculpture that stands just under life size at 49 and 5/8 in. It was bought by the Metropolitan Museum in New York with the Rogers Fund in 19091. The Metropolitan reports that it was made in early imperial, Julio-Claudian time of the first century AD.2 This is just a speculation as other resources have suggested that it is very difficult to date and can only be assumed to have been made in the Hellenistic period that began after Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC.3 Old Market Woman is also still under debate as to whether it is an original or a Roman copy. What we see of the statue now is not entirely true. We see an old woman with a slight hunch that is missing both of her arms. One missing arm would be carrying her basket of fruits or vegetables and chicken. She also wears a wreath of ivy, thong sandals. a sleeveless chiton, and clasped over he shoulder a large himation or mantle.4 As Edward Robinson describes in his article: “ the head itself is preserved, and has never been broken from the body, it was found with the features sadly mutilated, not by accident, but by a willful act of vandalism...to make the statue more presentable, the face has been restored here in plaster.”5
In the Hellenistic age there was a sudden appetite for individuality and realism. Idealism began to fade in favor of attention to a variety of experiences, individuals, and attributes that made people unique rather then similar. This shift came about in the fourth century BC which began expressing ordinary human emotions; however, “ It was the Hellenistic period when social and political changes shattered many entrenched patterns of Greek cultural life, that realism began to show signs of superseding the idealism.”6 Old Market Woman is and example of this turn to what could be considered realism because of her imperfect features. Her hunched back, baggy eyes, sagging breasts, and wrinkled features are “an attempt to reflect one’s experience of the natural and human world without the intercession of some notion of an ideal or perfect form.”7 Wrinkles and older generations were in no way considered beautiful to the vain Greeks obsessed with youth, who had “Blatant disrespect for old age.” and “old age is feared and mourned beyond wont by the life-loving Greeks.”8
What is most interesting about Old Market Woman are the many interpretations of what she represents and why the statue was made. J.J. Pollitt disputes that the statue “is probably depicted in the act of hailing potential customers in a market square, hoping to sell the chickens and basket of fruits and vegetables that she holds in her left hand.”9 He also mentions her ivy wreath as a symbol that she is part of a religious Dionysiac festival, but fails to mention her fine clothes. E. Simon suggests the opposite: that she is probably a participant at a Dionysiac festival making an offering at an altar, rather than peddling her wares or supporting herself on a staff, as usually assumed.10 There is more evidence supporting the theory that Old Market Woman was a participant of a Dionysiac festival than there is for the theory that she was a peddler in the streets. Consider first the fact the Hellenistic sculptures could be very public and often set up in places such as theaters, sanctuaries, agoras, temples, and other public buildings. They were also publicly commissioned as objects with religious, political, or social functions.11 Relate this to the fact that Old Market Woman “was found near a public area,in this case the vicinity of the Forum Holitorium in Rome, and may have been displayed there.”12 If the public were to commission a piece of artwork to be put on display today, what do you think they would ask for? An old panhandler, or an old dignified woman making a charitable donation?
Dionysus was a relatively new god not accepted into the Olympian pantheon for quite some time.13 He was a favored Hellenistic deity because he answered to the needs of many levels of society. His followers were known as thiasoi and thiasos- those that inhabited the wild outdoors as an alternative, cohesive society that offered a happy escape from city life.14 Dionysus actually started out as Zagreus, the horned child of Zeus and Persephone. The myth goes that the jealous Hera ordered the Titans to kill him. Hearing the news Zeus disguised his much loved son as a bull, but Zagreus was still found by the Titans and torn to pieces. Athena discovered his heart and Semele was impregnated with it and gave birth to the new god Dionysus.15 This ritual was reanacted by Greek women that dubbed themselves the Bacchoi to celebrate his resurrection. Led by Maeneds, or mad women, a procession of women devoted to Dionysus marched in wild procession into the hills, drank for two days, and would dismember a goat, bull, or man to join their souls with the god.16 Old Market Woman does not represent this brutal ritual, but instead the later festivals adopted by Athens: “Rulers of Athens tried to keep the cult at a distance, but failed; all they could do was to adopt Dionysus into Olympus, Hellenize and humanize him, give him and official festival, and turn the revelry of his worshippers from the mad ecstasy of wine amoung the hills into stately processions, robust songs, and noble drama.”17
Knowing the myth of Dionysus and his festivals being the reversal of normal order, it is easier to identify Old Market Woman as a votive statue dedicated to Dionysus rather than an old woman peddling her farming goods. The author of Hellenistic Sculpture, R.R.R Smith, describes “votive statues were dedicated to gods in return for divine favour received or anticipated. Votives can span the widest range of scale material and purchaser.”18 Smith also says “ Dionysian statues, the votives of worshippers, naturally represent the positive, beneficent side of the god. They are concerned with joy, delight, and happiness.”19 Such information can easily explain the uniqueness of Old Market Woman. Though she is old it certainly would be a role reversal to what the Greeks considered beauty. As a Dionysian votive Old Market Woman would be making an offering to the god that still considered her sexually attractive. The dress slipping off her shoulders to reveal her breasts also indicate this free spirit and lack of the normal womanly inhibitions.
The statue most commonly related to Old Market Woman is, not surprisingly, the Drunk Old Woman, figure 2. Like Old Market Woman the statue of Drunk Old Woman should not be taken at face value. When we first look at the statue one would see a haggard old woman sitting in a fit after having too much to drink. She is quite the opposite. “ Drunken woman is not a destitute, but part of the upper class. This can be identified by her clothing, ring on her left hand, and earrings. She may have been a famous drinker.”20 The two Hellenistic statues depict upper class women wearing elegant clothes. They are both Dionysiac festival goers as well, which can be identified in their actions and ivy wreaths. The difference is Drunken Old Woman has already arrived at the festival and Old Market Woman is most likely making her way there. Smith also points out that “ The old women, were most likely Dionysian votives... the statues are to be seen rather as objective, neutral portrayals of poverty and old age. They were not designed to make moral or social class statements, either negative or positive. They were not studies in the dignity of human toil.”21 Both statues were thought to be emerging images in Hellenistic genre statues, but both are more likely to be a new breed of votive statues.
Old Market Woman is a shining example of so much that can be misunderstood in art. She represents an evolution in Greek art toward Hellenistic realism, where the much feared old body is crafted in place of the ideal Aphrodite. Rather than a genre sculpture she is a votive statue to the god Dionysus preparing to make an offering of her chicken, fruits, and vegetables during a Dionysian festival. Old Market Woman has her companion Drunk Old Woman to represent what may have been considered low class destitues, but were actually festival participants. The mysteries of Old Market Woman should clear up if we look closer and realize she is a woman of class. Old Market Woman represents a new age of realism, a comparison to the likewise misunderstood Old Drunk Woman, and how art can evolve even in votive statues dedicated to gods.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Exciting news!

Okay first of all I still haven't finished the Katara animation, which is shameful, but got pushed back in priorities once again. After getting a day job, a freelance job as a background artist, and trying to amp up my website for my Disney application things have been a bit hectic. To add to all this HOT 99.5 and DC101 will be airing me reading a personal advertisement, or abbreviated resume if you will. There's no way of saying what time it will be on, but it should be cycling through commercials next week.

That's not even the most exciting news- I'm working on a new animated short with Max (http://maxsteiner.blogspot.com/ <- if you check out his blog you can see his short JOUST! that made it into SCADanimate 2009) for a health reform video contest.

But wait, there's more! A recent song has hit it pretty big in this area from a relatively "indie"/ little known musician named Adam Young who goes by Owl City. I've always had an intense interest in music videos and for senior thesis Do No Magick beat out another idea I had for a story about the old folk tale Winkin, Blinken, and Nod. When listening to the song it seemed to match my concept perfectly, so I thought it was worth a shot to contact him. I got a hold of his managers and they were interested in the idea! Once the film is completed they're going to be using it for their marketing! Money- no, but exposure yes! Plus I'll be doing two things that I've always really wanted to do. As you can see I'm very excited! You can check out the current music video- owl city's fireflies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI4JLa0hbUw

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back in the saddle

So now that I am a SCAD grad and insufferably unemployed it was time to do some animating on my own time. I recently chain watched the series Avatar the Last Airbender for the second time while away in Austin. The series is amazing and I love the characters, so I'm taking a stab at animating one of them. It's flash of course (since that is now my only means of animation) so you wont get exactly the awesome feel of the series. I actually started this very small test almost a year ago. I recorded myself splashing around in the pool for photo reference and after seeing the series again knew I had to finish the test. The prelim is done now and you can see the clean up work on top of the original sketch animation. Hopefully the test will be completed soon. Things seem to be going smoothly. video

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Japan

If I can thank SCAD for anything the first thing on my list would be the chance to go to Japan. It was an absolutely amazing opportunity. Like the best things in life not only was it enjoyable, but educational.
Though the land of the rising sun is world renowned for their anime it certainly isn't a place for animators. I had been suspicious of the treatment of employees in studio Ghibli for some time and my fears were confirmed. As tough as the film market is in the United States it's easy to assume that it would be twice as hard in Japan. The long nights with no pay that workers experience here is a daily grind for the Japanese. Studio Ghibli is a place that takes advantage of the bright new dreamers, wear down all the passion they have into making a film until finally they burn out. Truly it is a market where only the strong survive. I think most the students I know in SCAD would never make it there.
If people are curious about where I got this information it is in fact a very reliable source. One of the guest professors on the trip, the infamous Mark Schultz, was able to meet with his friend Geoff Darrow. Darrow is currently working on an animated version of his comic Shanghai Cowboy at MadHouse. I'm not sure how hush hush the project is, so the only thing I'll mention is that you should anticipate the most awesome crab ever. His experience at MadHouse however has not been much of an enjoyable one. When Mark and Professor Gotto entered the studio they say it was one of the most depressing places they had ever laid eyes on. Cubicles the size of outhouses, people passed out on the floor, and a general negative energy. Geoff explained that this was a very common sight in Japan and that workers collapse in studios because they work all night long. Animators only get paid by scene, and crap pay at that. Anyone working there are hardcore fanboys that do it because they love it, not because they can support themselves. A high percent of employees still live at home with their parents because their salaries are so low.
Not everything that I heard from Geoff was bad news. He also had some rare gems of valuable quotes, and an interesting back story on how he got in the industry. He was also so kind to show our class some of his production originals for Shanghai Cowboy and sketched a self-portrait for me! I may upload that here later.
I'll leave you with a few of Geoff Darrow's quotes:
" six legs and big claws equal big laughs"
" People on an airplane-not funny. Now you put a bear on that airplane, that's funny"
"In animation everything is black and white. People are either ugly or attractive."