Friday, October 26, 2007

A Quick Photoshop Project

Now, I'm hooked on Photoshop. I've gotten the handle on all the basic tools I need to turn a black & white doodle into a full color extravaganza: coloring, shading, highlighting, layers, cloud effects/textures, "magic wanding", gradients, etc., etc., etc.

This piece I drew in about 35-45 seconds in pencil (I usually spend less) & about a minute-&-a-half to ink it just right. Looking back, I shouldv'e scanned this in before I inked it to show you what it looked like in quick sketch-stage, but it's too late for that now. Oh well, maybe next time.

The Photoshop process probably took me about 20 minutes. Unlike my first Photoshop tryout or the one I did over at Toon Platoon this week, this one was a lot less complicated to do. No haggard lines/shapes, not too many broken lines... just a simple composition between two people. Like I said on my last Photoshop post, the hardest & longest part to fill in is the eyes since they're not closed off. Practice makes perfect, though.

Instead of placing them in a plain, empty, colored space in the middle of nowhere, I decided to put a background behind them. After doing this, I realized that Steve-O & Randy stood out too much, like they were just pasted in there. While the background has heavily-detailed grass, sky & leaves in their path, they're basically flat & too 2-dimensional. The shading & the slight highlighting aided that problem slightly, but they still stand out quite a bit.

Also, the most common mistake I make when coloring is forgetting to switch layers. On this drawing, there were 5 layers: the original drawing, a duplicate of the drawing (with a few misplaced colors slipped in by accident), the main coloring level, the background level (path, leaves & grass) & a sky level. By the end, I knew what was wrong with the thing & the problems & brought up during the process, but since it was a practice piece, I didn't mind TOO much. I'm learning, aren't I?

Either way, I'm glad I now know how to handle this program better. With little more practice, I'll get a better hang of it.

I might use the original drawing for a future banner for the blog, but I'll have to figure out how to lay it out first. We'll see how things go. Maybe I can reach my Christmas goal after all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

'Castle in the Sky' with Diamonds

Ever since I saw Princess Mononoke last week (or was it the week before?), I've been hunting for Miyazaki films at my school's library. Just the other day, I came across another one of his films, & of course, I picked it up & took it out.

The film was Castle in the Sky. A lot of people have told me that it's not as good as Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, but I disagree. I LOVE this film. Personally, I think it's a LOT better than Princess Mononoke. The story, the characters, the concept, the music, the cast &, of course, the animation were all magnificent. I've alway's loved flying, & this film is all about it. I especially love the design of the little bug-like machine like the one Steve-O is riding above. Do yourself a favor & go watch this film . You won't regret it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My First Photoshop + My Eye Style

I've always wanted to know how to use Photoshop. Unfortunately, even the simplest task in Photoshop seems to be impossibly difficult for a novice user like myself to even compromise.

Luckily, my roommate Sam is skilled in Photoshop, & he had the time to quickly go through the basics of Photoshop with me. Consider it Photoshop 101.

Mainly, I want to learn how to put my characters in photos alongside myself or even vice versa. You know, pull a Roger Rabbit. I'd like to learn how to do this in time to possibly create a Christmas card for this year. That & color my comics with it, too.

Anyway, here's my first attempt at coloring in Photoshop:


As you can see, it's practically garbage. White & blank spots abound, bad color choices & the like. The thing that aggravates me the most is that you can't fill in a space unless even the smallest possible crevasse is open. I spent probably 85% of the time closing-up broken lines.

& that situation leads to another main problem: The eyes all my characters have are broken. Their basically parentheses with dots in between. So to leave those blank, I've got to draw ever-so perfect lines so that the finished product looks just right. I didn't have that much of a problem with the monster, but Randy looks completely off, since it's a side view & had only one eye to color.

For those of you that might not have guessed it already, my eyes were slightly based off of the eye designs from the comic strip, Peanuts. When Charlie Brown became surprised or shocked, he'd get these temporary curved lines next to his eyes. Unlike Charlie Brown, Linus & Lucy had these lines all the time, no matter what situation they were in. My style eyes have those same lines, except they curl around slightly near the top. They look almost like butterfly wings.

Also, sometimes you might notice when Steve-O or Randy are shocked, colored circles will surround their pupil(s). That's somewhat based off of Ed, Edd & Eddy. Cannibal Chicken has his right eye like that all the time, just because he's slightly insane.

Anyway, I'll continue to experiment with Photoshop as time goes on. Hopefully, I'll be able to reach my goal. Too bad you'll have to settle for that crappola up top. Boo hoo for you!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Have you seen Princess Mononoke yet?

Every time I talk to someone who is into animation like I am, they always ask if I've seen Princess Mononoke, the Miyazaki film. I tell them I haven't yet & they do one of those "OH MAN! YOU GOTTA WATCH IT! IT'S THE BEST ANIMATED FILM EVER!!!" exclamations.

I finally watched Princess Mononoke for the first time last night. It is a great film, but it was not quite as extraordinary as people say it is. The animation is top notch, the voices are superb (even though most of the characters are voiced by typical top-name American actors for the English dub), & the story was exciting & compelling. But it's not quite what I expected. On a 1/10 scale, I'd give it a solid 8. It ain't perfect, but it's pretty far up there.

Personally, I like Spirited Away a lot better, but I appreciate Princess Mononoke for what it is & I respect that. I would definitely suggest you all to watch it if you haven't seen it yet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Bare Necessities

Just a little over 24 hours ago, the new Platinum Edition DVD of Disney's Jungle Book hit the shelves! Unlike some of the last few Platinum Editions that have come out (Peter Pan immediately comes to mind), this edition seems to be chock full of bonus goodies, including a deleted character feature, "Making Of" documentary, art galleries, interviews & most importantly... an AUDIO COMMENTARY TRACK!

Even though it's not my absolute favorite Disney film (Fantasia tops my list), this ranks pretty high up there. Like many other animators, this film is a pretty big inspiration to why I'm in animation today.

If you are a Disney fan, animation fan or just a fan, do yourself a favor & run out to your local video store & pick this baby up ASAP (except if you're a fan of Kipling's original book).

Just 'Trust in Me'! Go get it pronto!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Toon Pla-toon! Toon Pla-toon!

What's "Toon Platoon" you might ask? It's a second blog run by yours truly. But this new blog isn't all about me... it's all about a bunch of other artists, cartoonists & pencil fanciers who will participate in a weekly art contest!

Yes, it does sound very much like TOON CLUB. Well, it's a lot like TOON CLUB. As a matter of fact, it might as well be called TOON CLUB: Part Deux! Anyway, this blog is just somewhere where fellow artists, friends & cartoonists can interact & compare, contrast, study, suggest, comment, judge & critique each others artwork.

It's not quite ready as of this post, but it will be up & running before you know it. (Possibly even before I know it!) You can check it out HERE. I'll also put a direct link to it on my "LINKS TO CHECK OUT'' list.

& don't worry, For the Birds will still be here, & I'll update it just as I did before the new blog came along ( I hope).

Monday, October 1, 2007

College Soup IIII (Now in Glorious Technicolor!)

You heard right! Here's part for of College Soup, now in color! Enjoy!

& now for something completely different...
Last Thursday, I was lucky to meet Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the comic strip Mutts. Mutts happens to be one of my all-time favorite comic strips, & I met the father of Earl & Mooch myself. I'm still so giddy from it all! He even drew a personalized sketch for me. How 'shweet'!

Stay tuned later this week for more goodies!