Friday, December 31, 2010


Here are a few panels from a story animatic I just finished cutting together.

What does this mean? What are these for? We'll see what 2011 looks like.
Happy New Year to all and may you all find God's best for you this next year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Xtranormal starts charging to make & post content....

I (sardonically) talked about this software some time back. Regardless of what animation pros think of it, Xtranormal seems to have gained quite a user base and following. But with popularity comes cost. From Yahoo news...
Animation website Xtranormal — whose cartoon-making tools have spawned viral videos of cuddly puppies debating such topics as quantitative easing and the iPhone in stilted monotones — is no longer offering free, unlimited use of its tools.
The change reflects the higher costs of running Xtranormal as the site's popularly grew.
More than 2 million people now use its simple moviemaking tools, up from about 500,000 in June. According to Xtranormal, those users have published about 9.3 million videos so far. Some of the videos have received thousands or even millions of views, further boosting Xtranormal's popularity and usage.

This will be interesting to watch develop. I recall having some lively conversations a few years back with friends in the media biz and stating that the day will come when the cost for user-made content will shift from the consumer (via micro-payments, paywalls, ads, subscriptions, etc.) to the producer. my logic was simple- hosting these things costs a lot of money and somebody has to pay for it since viewers have proven rather unwilling to do so. A ton of hot social media sites are facing this issue. Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo, etc. Youtube is a bit of an exception since it has the Google sugar-daddy to keep it in heels and fur, but for the rest it's not as simple. How do you make money and not sacrifice the user experience which was so vital to getting popular enough to survive the start-up and attract some nice Series A capital investment from VCs? The Dot.Com boom of the late 90's taught us that investors are only so willing to keep pouring money into hot online spaces with no real business plans. As noted, consumers of user-created content have shown little willingness to pay for content and online ad rates are so depressed that only the largest of aggregators (ie: Google) can survive on the micro-finance level of online ads. Sooner or later someone was bound to try and see if the content makers would be willing to pony up some cash in order to have access to the big microphone that is the internet. Vanity publishing goes digital age.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A reminder...

"At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them."

Wishing you and yours the very best this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's not Maya, but hey....

.. for non animator folks this CrazyTalk Animator app could be interesting. I think tools democratization is an interesting thing. It certainly doesn't remove the need for talent or skill in story telling (no more than using a word processor makes you a better writer), it just removes barriers. Certainly not suitable for all needs, but I could see it being a fun way to do a quick little short film. Watch the cheesy promo video below.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Call me crazy, but I like this trailer...

Who knows if the movie will be any good, but they've succeeded in getting me interested. Indeedy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yeah, I'm behind a day or so....

Meet Buck from TeamCerf on Vimeo.

Lots of fun stuff to look at. It's a good example of animation on 1's mixed with a natural media type rendering style that works- mainly because the animation is pretty over the top. Most typical on 1's CG animation when mixed with natural media emulation just comes off wrong. Congrats to the crew.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

VTS December blow out sale!

In time for the holidays I'm offering an absolutely bonkers blow out sale on the entire catalog of back issue Video Tutorial Service (VTS) animation training videos in my online store. For those of you who don't know, the VTS videos were made over the course of 5 and a half years where I made a new video each month for my paid subscribers. Earlier this year I shut down the subscription service due to work obligations and time constraints, but the videos are still available as back issues. Overall there are 64 videos (the first two I made are free on my Youtube channel), covering a ton of different topics on animation. Each video is about 45 minutes long on average, so we're talking about nearly 60 hours of animation training videos (that's a lot of video). Anyhow, the regular price for each back issue VTS video is $18.95, but starting today the price has been slashed by almost 75% to just $4.95 each

That's not a typo. Each VTS video is now under $5. You think that's crazy, wait until you hear this: If you buy all all 60+ videos in a bundle you can get them for $3.95 each, or $240.00. What does Otto think of these prices?

Even Schmitty is at a loss for words....

So if you never got any VTS videos now is your chance to get them. Did you buy some in the past, but couldn't get as many as you wanted? Now is the perfect time to complete your collection. Has downloading them from a pirate torrent left you feeling guilty? A clear conscience has never been so cheap!  Heehee. 

So if you're an animator, an animation student, or even just mildly interested in animation- this is the deal for you. Want to get a cool, practical holiday gift for the animator in your life? VTS videos are the way to go. Purely 100% digital delivery means no wrapping or postage. I'd even say these videos will make you a better person/laundry washer/lover/pet owner, but I don't want to over-reach.

Anyhow, even if you're not interested in getting any VTS videos, feel free to pass on the news. The prices are scheduled to go back to normal Jan 1st, 2011, so get cracking!