Andy's Art and Whatever

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Motivation and Vacation

Just because I’m super obsessive compulsive, here’s a couple youtube videos of my Mii playing Wii Sports Resort (actual journal below).

Skydiving
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKkZNHtHoCg
Swordplay
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAxdmJsysDg
Archery
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KTsbB55u30
Island Flyover
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG1cRKyvUU0

I’m really enjoying Wii Motion Plus. I wish there were more games out right now which used it, though. Aside from a tennis game and a golf game, there’s really nothing coming out for a while and that’s kinda annoying. Of course I’m even MORE psyched now about the eventual Zelda Wii title since I know how swordfighting and archery will work in the game (or at last a template of how).

I’ve been having a really rough month motivational wise. I just can’t get myself through my work, and it’s really frustrating. I’ve got a 2 part Pirate story planned which I wanna start working on, but I’m gonna be leaving for a mini-vacation in a few days... so I can’t start too much right now. Also, I still haven’t colored in the 2nd Pirate story yet. It’s all inked and scanned and ready and it’s really really REALLY easy to color... so what the heck? Why haven’t I done anything?

I hate feeling unproductive. I’m so used to making tons of work at once that when I have periods like this where I don’t do much at all, I feel really useless and depressed. It’s hard coming out of these spells. I can at least claim the fact that I made a Mario and Link pixel art out of those plastic beads you iron. Remember those? They’re like little colored beads and you line them all up and then iron them and they melt and fuse together to make “art”? Lol. Well I made a Racoon Mario sprite and a Link from the original Legend of Zelda sprite. They’re really cool and it’s kinda neat having these pixelated sprites that I can actually hold in my hands. Lol. I wanna make more now but I used up all the black on Mario... :- (

This is kinda silly, but I really like the fact that in Metroid Zero Mission for the GBA you can go back to Mother Brain’s hideout AFTER you defeat her. I LOVE it when games allow you to free roam like that. I wish I had Metroid Fusion (and another GBA) so I could link the two up. I think you get something if you do that, though I don’t know what. That game has kept me busy at work all this past week and kept me from getting too depressed. I think Metroid works best in 2-D form. I love those games so much more than the FPS “Prime” series.

I’m doing a big book signing in Massachusetts on Saturday. If anyone has some free time and live in Massachusetts, you should definitely come out and say hi! I’ll have more details tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tron in Wonderland

So I just watched a couple of trailers for some new movies coming (coincidentally both by Disney) which were advertised at the recent Comic Con. And here’s my impressions of them:
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Alice in Wonderland
I’m honestly getting sick of both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The novelty of Johnny has worn off considerably because of the slew of movies he’s been in lately (Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeny Todd, Willy Wonka, etc) and his “fantastic” performances have started to dwindle and just be... well... kinda the same thing we’ve already seen. I especially do not like the design of his Mad Hatter character, with that horrible shock of flat red hair. I just don’t see him performing this role any different than when he did Jack Sparrow or Wonka. In fact it almost seems to me like a mixing of the two.

Likewise for Tim Burton, the twisted macabre worlds that Tim Burton create all look... well... like the same thing we’ve already seen. Everything is just basically “Nightmare Before Christmas” over and over again.

Some of the effects in the trailer looked interesting and I’m curious to see it in 3-D... but some of the other effects just look awful. I don’t like the Cheshire cat, nor do I like the queen’s ungodly huge head. I understand what they’re trying to do (which is imitate the original caricatured drawings from the book) but if that’s the case, then shouldn’t Johnny’s head be equally huge?

There’s something about the way Disney does computer animation which bugs me. It’s like everything is TOO smooth when it moves it’s obvious every time what’s fake and what’s real (more on that in the next section).

Finally, I’m not all that impressed with the way that Alice looks. Alice is the most important character in the movie and she looks awful to me. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the hair... but something about her just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

I dunno... I’m sure people will be praising this movie and hyping it up and all kinds of stuff... but for me, it just seems like a mediocre movie and not worth seeing it in the theater even in 3-D.
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Tron Legacy
I remember the first Tron quite fondly, especially after I saw how they made the movie. Pretty much the entire movie was rotoscoped (traced) to add those glowing effects on their suits. And the computer animation at the time was revolutionary and incredibly time consuming. It looks dated now, of course, but it’s got a certain “charm” about how primitive it is.

Flash forward to now... The trailer shows a character in an updated outfit fleeing from some bad guy. He pulls a matrix move and gets into a light-cycle (which also is updated) and they speed off for a chase around a semi-transparent and mimalist world. Eventually the bike gets blown up and the guy is confronted by his pursuer who promptly kills him.

With all of the CGI effects, I dunno... It just doesn’t look “right” to me. It’s got all of the glitz and glamor of a PS3 game, but with the retro visuals of an 80's computer, and something about that just isn’t working for me. The things which should be “digital” aren’t, and the things which shouldn’t are. And once again, the effects are too “smooth.” Especially when dealing with the human characters, where it’s quite obvious that certain shots are entirely digital. Their movement just doesn’t look realistic, even for the simplest of things.

There’s also some old guy watching from a tower and, correct me if I’m wrong, but was that suppose to be Jeff Bridges who took the guy out? They made a point to lighten up his face inside his helmet before killing the guy... but honestly I couldn’t recognize him. I only surmise that it’s suppose to be him.

I dunno... overall I’m not too thrilled with either of these BIG BLOCKBUSTER TITLES! Is it just me, or does anyone else out there feel this way?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vacation, Book Signing, Wii Sports, and MORE!

Next week I’m gonna be going on a much needed vacation to see my family. Skype helps me keep in touch with them but I just haven’t been able to visit in such a long time. It’s going to be so nice to get away from it all and be with family for a change.

While I’m back home, I’m gonna go see a Depeche Mode concert in Boston. Theoretically we’ve got seats which put us on the Martin Gore side of the stage. Here’s hoping... *crosses fingers*

Also, I’m gonna be doing a book signing and lecture at my local library for junior and high school kids. Maybe I can pass on some of my experience and wisdom to them, although I have a feeling it’s simply going to devolve into a geek-out session about comics books and manga. Lol. Not that that’s a bad thing mind you...

I was apprehensive about going on this trip because it’s for such a long time and I don’t want to leave my cat all alone with no food (timed dispensers are far too pricy for me right now), but one of my girlfriend’s coworkers is nice enough to come over and look after him while we’re gone. Yay.

I wish I could bring my Nintendo Wii (and more specifically Wii Fit) to show to my parents. But they have a strong aversion to Nintendo and anything video game related. They go out and exercise regularly and do workouts and the like, so they can’t see what sort of benefit Wii Fit would have... even for a social phobic individual such as myself. Sigh... I think that if they just TRIED the darn thing, they would really find it interesting and have a lot of FUN with it. But whatever... I’m not lugging that thing through the airport.

I’d really think they’d get a kick out of it if they tried Wii Sports Resort, which is coming out this weekend. I’m planning to buy it when it comes out and have saved a few bucks just for the occasion. It’s kinda annoying that Wii Motion Plus has been out for almost a month now, but the one game which showcases everything it can do hasn’t come out yet. Of course I really wanna try the sword fighting game, and also the paddle boat game. Those look like the most fun. Archery too for that matter. Le sigh... Sunday just can’t get her quick enough...

I showed off my “Best Laid Plans” to my parents and girlfriend and they both didn’t like it. Not so much the story but the ending. And sadly I couldn’t agree more, which depresses me. I’m gonna have to go back and redo the last panel. I think I can modify it to work better with just a few edits, but it’s against my nature to go back in the first place, so I’m really struggling with it.

The next pirate story is gonna be fun, but I need some help. Does anyone speak “britspeak”? I’ve got a character that I want to talk with a heavy British dialect and slang, but I myself am ignorant of how to do that. Whenever I try it sounds more Australian than British. Does anyone know of a website which translates into slang or could help me or could someone volunteer to give me advice?