Thursday, March 20, 2008


There's no salutations, there's no pretending ati I'm even going to jaribu to put up pichas. Click the above link, even if you don't get to the end of my post: YOU MUST CLICK THE LINK!

This photographer is simply amazing. I'm not sure there's another way to say it, but I'll try anyway.
He invokes feelings of excitement and motivation in the artists soul. Looking at his work, I can't help but want to get hold of a camera, snap some pictures and photoshop the carp out of them (yes, carp...not the other word).
On looking at his work I ended up asking myself questions like, 'what the *insert slightly offensive word here* are you doing?, ebu show me your work. Kama ulikuwa unalala, amka! This is a wake up call, a preview of the kind of stuff you want to do but, for some reason aren', this is is some good stuff.
One notable picture involves two men in a fight. That picture reminds me of the movie Fightclub. It has such amazing detail, of the blood mixed with spit flying out of his mouth and through the air as he gets punched in the face, the sheer force that the attacker is using is expressed as he closes his eyes and gives his all, and like that's not enough, the brother goes and uses soft lighting, a back light to the left...can anybody say, haiya?!?

Leaving me saying the one thing that shows that I am truly a shagsmudu in Amerrrrica (many r's because of my Amerrrican accent); heh, hii ni real?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Two Countries

Hey people!

We're still pushing the project forward! Ever so slowly...

We are calling it "Two Countries", for now. Below are some designs for our two leads, named the Fat Man and the Hat Man (also working titles). We're making up a lot of this as we go along. I just saw Pete Rock, the hip hop producer, describing making beats as being "like a jigsaw puzzle", and that's exactly what this stage of the process is like! Figuring out how much to show, how much to hide, how to show it... Man. Unfortunately, we're not even really sure how long it'll end up being, at least until the storyboard is done.

Flash will be our weapon of choice for this project, probably with some After Effects thrown in towards the end.

And as for the schedule, we're actually a liiiitle bit behind, but since we're working in advance of the real due dates, I guess we're OK. We'll have to work on that, though...

I gather a lot more people are reading this than we thought! Thank you!!! Please drop us a line from time to time.

Coming soon: The story of Iwinyo Piny. :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Worth It?

Sometimes I hate animation. So much that I actually begin to believe I could just turn my back on the whole thing and go and do something a lot less stressful. Like achieve world peace. Or chase butterflies.

I've been working ALL day (hours and hours of exposure to screen radiation...) on a 3-D model that I need to get done for a college project and have barely done a 1/4 of what I was supposed to. And there's two other projects I need to make a dent into and then my portfolio to polish up. Did I mention I sometimes hate this career?

You can sit and struggle with one tiny detail and it Just. Won't. Work. And there's absolutely nothing you can do about it except keep trying minute variations of the same thing in the hope that something somehow will work and you can hit Ctrl + S as soon as it does.

Oddly, this morning I was explaining the process of animation to my mum and after I'd gone through the whole 24 drawings per frame and acted out poses for her in slow motion and all, there was this pause and then she asked: "But is it worth it?"

And when I exclaimed in indignation "Of course!" she smiled and my dad chuckled, like it was a plot on their part just to make sure that if I was going insane, it was for a reason I believed in. It made me realise that a lot of people would - and do - just give up when it gets too hard. I'm hoping I don't become one of them.

I worry sometimes that being an animator demands more of a person than I can give. It's hard for family and friends to understand this sudden withdrawal from so many social circles simply because I don't have the time for it all anymore! Most times they ask me when I'll be done with the course, because then I'll go back to 'normal' life. How do I explain this is what normal is going to be like from now on?

No wonder so many artists are lonely people or hang out only with their own kind. We really are a species unto ourselves in some ways.

Enough rambling though. If the project works out (and I don't have a choice except to make sure it does) I'll put up screenshots and all. But in the meantime, it's a Godforsaken hour of the night and I have to get back to work - because yes, it IS still worth it. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


We're making a short film!

The image above is part of a test to see how the whole project would look. It's far from the final version because we'll sit down and discuss the designs and so forth, and probably make a lot of modifications to both the visuals and the story, such as earlier this week when I showed Bint some of the character designs and she asked me, "So how can you tell that they're politicians?" (Story hint!) And so it was back to the drawing board. Literally.

As we go, we'll update the blog with screenshots and designs and all, we'll let you know about all the stages of making the short and our ideas behind the whole process. The short doesn't even have a name yet, all we have is an outline and we're fleshing out a lot of it as we go. SO this whole process is as suspenseful for us as it is for you. (Assuming that we have avid readers on the blog already...) Stay tuned... (Personally, I can't wait to compose the score...)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spreading The Bug

Nothing beats the enthusiasm and imagination of children. It's a joy watching them do things that interest them, because they become so immersed in the activity, that you can't help but become a mere spectator. Which is what I was for the better part of yesterday morning.

There was a Parent's Day thingy at a local school and we had a table - two actually - all to ourselves. Daniel (I am allowed to mention fellow bloggers in my posts, aren't I?) got to sit on cobbler's stool, armed with cutesy-pie drawing tablet (Genius 4 x 6) and I got to hang around and spectate.

The original plan was to use Daniel's drawing skills for a marketing ploy as he sketched on the little grey square and the pictures - as if by magic! - came to life onscreen. As it turned out, children don't like watching others do something; they'd rather do it themselves.

So for the next 4 odd hours, the tablet passed from one set of small fingers to another as everyone tried their hand at it. You could see the differences even then - the giggly-girl bunch who came only to try out a new 'cool' thing and scribbled little love notes on the screen (aah, the total lack of guile at that age!) and the serious ones who hung around until the very last minute for one more chance to wield the pen.

It's the second lot that really amazed me. These little kids sitting there drawing without a care for what others will think of their abilities. We forget that as adults. And that's what animation reminds you to do. Just put your heart into the story and forget everything else while you tell it.

There was one boy who stuck out though. I'm hoping I don't forget him for a long time. He had this air of sincerity about him and an interest that seemed to run just that necessary bit deeper than the usual boyish obsession in super heroes and comics. Very likeable chap. Okay, okay, he was just shoo shweet! :)

So anyway, N (let's call him that) made his very first movie using the tablet and I have it saved in the unrealistic hope that someday when he'll become this great animator and want to have it as a memory. I know I have a lot of my firsts that I keep for purely sentimental value. That's what helps keep the dreams alive when you're down, that drawing or piece of writing that you pulled out from deep within in a moment of complete Belief that you would succeed. (And why shouldn't you?)

Fears and insecurities are things we teach ourselves as adults. True, they save us from getting hurt, but when it comes to art, getting hurt is part of the process of production. I think that's one of the most obvious differences between an animation that is well-produced and one that actually touches you. The artists behind the scene or the drawing that stays with you for ages afterwards must have put something of themselves into the work.

That's why as I put up my first offering to the visual side of this blog, I do so with a trembling ego and a silent thanks to N for reminding me of the really important thing in this business: purity of involvement.

After all, a drawing is simply a bunch of lines. It's the artist who breathes life into it.