Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Lunchbox Debacle

Hiya folks! Did ya have a good week?

I have an announcement to make, but first, I must explain the invention that is the "Lunchbox". Let me start from the beginning (an ideal place, I believe).

In Animation class here at SVA, we shoot our scenes with a little gadget called a "Lunchbox".

It's called that...well...because it looks like a lunchbox. The only difference is that instead of it storing Lunchables or Caprisun, it stores snapshots like a large memory card or a backup drive.

Here's how it works: the Lunchbox is connected to a camera (a camcorder, preferably) which shoots downward towards an animation disc. Using the Lunchbox as the control, it snaps a photograph of your animation drawings and stores them in the Lunchbox. Once all your drawings are recorded, you can play your drawings in sequence to see how they move, what we in the business call a "pencil test".

While all this tedious work is going on, the Lunchbox is also plugged into a TV, where you can see all the drawings on screen as you're shooting it. You can play a scene at normal speed (24 frames per second, or on "one's"), slower speed (12 frames per second, or "two's") or even backwards. When you're done fooling around, you record the scene onto videotape with a VCR plugged into the TV for future reference.

You see, back before the days of computers (or even VCRs), if an animator wanted to see what his scene looked like, he'd have to send all his drawings to a cameraman, who in turn had to shoot each and every drawing with a film camera. Once all the drawings were shot, the cameraman had to take the reel of undeveloped film to a photo/film lab to develop it, while the animator waits a full day to see how his/her scene looks. Now, thanks to video & computer technology, you can now do all that work in a matter of seconds instead of hours or even days time.

Now to where I come in:

This past semester, I animated numerous tests in class to hone my developing animator skills. Bouncing balls, rotating heads, walk cycles... the usual animation mumbo-jumbo. At the end of the semester, I recorded all my scenes at once on tape with the Lunchbox. Now I can bring my work home to show my friends, family, colleagues & blog visitors!

"Let me just set up the old VCR, blah-blah blah, start up the computer, mmm-hmmmm... let's see... how do I....?"


"Aw crap."

Now how do I take the footage off a VHS tape & transfer it onto my computer?

Long story short, I had to go out to Best Buy, buy a VCR-to-DVD recorder to transfer my tape footage onto a DVD. I needed to buy one of those anyway, with all our old home movies and baby tapes deteriorating over the years, it's worth the cost. Better do it before they turn to dust!

Here's where my announcement comes in... in the next week or two, I'm going to post at least some of my SVA animation tests up here on the blog! Cool, isn't it? I can't wait to show you my morph!

What morph, you ask? Find out soon!

--Oh, while your at it, think up some questions for me to answer & please post a comment or two. It's getting lonely around here!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Question #2: "How do you Draw Steve-O?"

Here's another question coming my way!

David Spector from Long Island asks me "How do you draw Steve-O?". & what better way to demonstrate this than by videotaping the whole process!

I apologize for the quality of the video. From a distance, the camera works great! But close-up, everything looks like distorted, blurry garbage. When & if I get a better camera for this, I'll redo the whole thing.

I never really noticed how deep my accent was. Now after listening & watching these videos, I'm extremely shocked by it. Maybe I should take some sort of lecture to fix that, huh?

Keep those questions coming & remember to leave comments!

Monday, January 21, 2008

For the Birds' On-Air Question-Answering Program #1

Here's my first question asked for me to answer on the site: "Will there ever be a 'Steve-O Movie"?"

Thanks Emily for submitting your question. I was very pleased to answer it.

Keep those questions coming! & remember to LEAVE COMMENTS!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My First Video Blog Post (Yikes!)

I know, I'm an awkward guy, but let's face it... nobody's perfect!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Time to Grovel

For the last few months, I've really let this blog go. Besides that Donkey Kong piece I posted a week ago for deviantART, I haven't posted any NEW art since November. I feel bad knowing that I haven't really kept my promises for new installments for my comics or just posting whatever I've drawn each day.

When I came home from SVA for the holiday break, I was frustrated & irked to discover that my computer was incapacitated indefinitely due to crappy virus protection (I'll never use Norton products again!) & all my cartoons, sketches & artwork I wanted to post this month were stuck with it. I was basically going to last through the next month without a computer. Up until now, I've been using my mother's fancy new laptop, just browsing the web. I just got my computer cleaned up & returned to me yesterday, & tomorrow I'm heading back to the Apple. Better late than never, I guess.

Today, I'm going to share something that I wanted to put up for months now. For my sister's birthday back in September, I made her a 3-page birthday comic starring Steve-O & Randy. I don't think she'd mind if I shared it with you.

That's all the artwork for today, but I've got some news for you!
I'm working on a special project for my fellow animator/SVA friend Chris "Kirbopher" Niosi. I don't wish to leak any major details about the project, but I'll tell you this: This'll be a FLASH animated piece. I'll link to it once it's finished, probably by the end of February.

I'll DEFINITELY make sure to put up more recent work here once I get back to SVA this week. See you then!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

How I Became a Deviant...

No, no... I didn't smuggle drugs across the border or caused any sort of trouble to the establishment. I set up an account on, a big art showcasing site.

A few of my SVA friends, Chris Niosi & Chris Zito (a lot of Chris' around here) influenced me to start an account on deviantart, where they post a lot of their artwork, cartoons & gags up for all to see. Even though For the Birds is my #1 place to show my stuff, I thought "Why not?" & set up an account there.

From what I've seen & experienced so far, it happens to be a pretty nice site. From now on, everything I post here will eventually be put up there, too.

& for my first "deviation" (& my first posted art of 2008), I put up this:

Chris Zito (the guy I mentioned above) has asked a bunch of his collegues, friends & other deviants on deviantart to submit artwork relating to the upcoming, highly-anticipated game Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. He's taking all the submissions sent to him & posting them up in a big collage-like thing on his page. You can check out what he's got so far HERE.

He asked to include a character from a SSB game, an item from any of those games & a character to represent yourself. So, I drew Donkey Kong with one of his barrels nearly slamming a fowl version of me into submission. It's basically Steve-O with hair, glasses & clothes. I rushed everything: the drawing, inking, scanning & coloring. Either way, I'm satisfied with what finally came out.

Anyway, make sure to check out my deviantart page once in a while, & while you're at it, check out Chris Niosi's & Chris Zito's pages too! There will also be a link to my profile in the links column.

More to come soon!