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Bob Staake Illustrations, Photoshop 3.0 January 9, 2008

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Bob Staake creates digital illustration in Adobe Photoshop 3.0 and shares it with the online community.  In a recent online interview, Drawn.ca suggested that “to say Bob Staake is just an illustrator is like saying ‘The Beatles’ were just a bunch of musicians; the title doesn’t do the artist justice” and Publisher’s Weekly commented that “Bob Staake’s modern, crisp illustrations … practically jump off the page”

So, what hardware is Bob running? “Mac G5 1.8 GHz, Snapz Pro x 2.1.2 (running trial right now — maybe they’ll give me the full version) ps 3.0 running in classic. I only work in ps 3.0 ” says Bob. “No layers, but a mouse, keyboard and plenty of caffeine.”

Ah, but Adobe Photoshop 3.0… I continue to work in the program even although I have Adobe Creative Suite 2 on my G5. For me, the familiarity of Photoshop 3.0 keeps me locked into the program, even though my son says the days are officially numbered given that the classic program won’t physically run on the new dual processor Macs (and being an Apple employee, he should know). Bob Staake, PixFix Process Commentary

These mini-process movies were created using Snapz Pro X for the Mac (Get Snapz Pro X in this weeks MacHeist bundle). Each of these short exercises can be viewed on his website at BobStaake.com or at YouTube.

[ via Macenstein ]

Rebekah Sedaca on Comics September 20, 2007

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Rebekah Sedaca on Comics
TriUPA Local Lunch — Raleigh

When: 12pm — Friday, September 28th
Where: Capstrat in Raleigh [map]

Rebekah Sedaca

Join TriUPA for our next local lunch, hosted by Capstrat.  Rebekah Sedaca, a user experience designer at Capstrat, will be talking about her experience using comics to communicate complex information to stakeholders in the design process. You might have seen Rebekah’s article “Comics: Not just for laughs!” in Boxes & Arrows.

Lunch will be provided. Interested? Please RSVP online by Wednesday, September 26th. Registration for this event is limited, so sign up soon.

(To RSVP, click “Register Now,” then log in if you are a TriUPA member, or enter your contact information if you aren’t a member).

Contact Jackson Fox with any questions.

Spark Con 2007 September 11, 2007

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Raleigh, NC – September 20-23

Spark Con (http://www.sparkcon.com) is a four day event in downtown Raleigh featuring live music, runway fashion, art, local films, inspiring speakers, and a variety of opportunities to connect with and contribute to our creative community.

This year they are offering students free admission to IdeaSpark! (http://www.sparkcon.com/ideaspark.html).

Each day four speakers will talk about and demonstrate creative methods they’ve used to develop new technologies, advance the state of the arts, help independent business thrive, and foster an attitude of inclusivity. They will then challenge us with a provocative question, which we will develop lively responses to in informal, 90 minute workshops.
All you need for free admission is to present a photo student ID upon entry.

To find out more information jump over to SparkCon.

Reuer Design / DesignBox
323 W. Martin St.
Raleigh, NC 27601

FlicFlix August 1, 2007

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A Flash Animation Composition for Comic Books and Animated Flipbooks

We had a fantastic opportunity for students and guests to experiment with short animation stories and world building to create a sense of place and perspective for creative exploration. Students created short animations using FlicFlix, A Flash animation applet which integrates live video and real time green screen chromakey technology to fully immerse students, characters and props into the animation world.

ChromakeyUsing a mash-up approach that utilizes different software applications, we were able to allow students to drag and drop creature/character objects into background scenes, paint/draw and utilize Flash media rich features. By integrating open source and creative commons information, from Flash developer, Mario Klingemann (Quasimondo.com), we took advantage of the web camera and chromakey applications for the green screen feature. We integrated this feature into the FlicFlix applet to quickly allow students to immerse themselves into their own story and animation.Other off-the-shelf software titles such as iSight Photo Booth, Snap-Z Pro, Business Card Composer and Plasq’s Comic Life allowed us to quickly create animated flipbooks and comic books to showcase their stories. As expected, the chromakey activity was a big success and a fantastic introduction for students into digital design and animation.


Digital Comics for Literacy August 1, 2007

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CTSIStorytelling is a key element of learning. We tell stories to explain the world not just for others, but for ourselves. Being able to explain relationships allows us to build on our knowledge, as is related in Paiget’s Theory of Learning: Each child builds on the previous stage of cognitive development, increasing the child’s ability to solve more complex problems.

For our effort at World Children’s Festival, we used the sequential, visual nature of the comic book to have students create simple stories, allowing them to combine text and imagery, both skills they already possesed. The intent up front was to make the process utterly approachable. For small children in particular (such as the precocious 9 year old named Jason) it became important to get on with the task, make it simple and streamlined; more about telling a story and less about mechanics (such as drawing recognizable objects). That can come later…


The Knights’ Tale July 20, 2007

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Living a quiet life as an animator, Travis Knight never dreamed he’d work for his father. Then the Nike founder gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse…

I would have to say that the July/August issue of Fast Company is the best one I’ve read in the last year. Somehow it managed to contain just the right amount of politics, environment, design and technology to keep me reading cover to cover this week.

Spark ConRaleigh was ranked in the Fast City listing, however it was ranked for Research and Development not necessarily for Creative-Class or Design which I think someone should clarify with the editors. If you need more proof… keep an eye out for Design Expo Raleigh ’07 and SparkCon.

Laika Animation StudioAnyways, there is a great article about Travis Knight and the animation production studio he and his father have been developing. They are slowly (since 2005) working on making the next (little)big thing in animation. The article is online, some photos are in the zine but not very many on the actual animation projects they are working on (Check Laika’s website below).

Read more about their animation studio at Fast Company.

Laika Entertainment (yes, they are hiring.)

(Business Card) Flipbooks June 28, 2007

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Business Card Composer

While putting together a workshop for the World Children’s Festival we were looking for a good way to print out animated flipbooks. Must to our dismay we could only find a few solutions that would fit our needs.

There are a couple that work on the PC side, taking in bmps/jpgs or turning .avi files into flipbooks. Check out Flipbook Printer (via LifeHacker) for a good example.However we were looking for one that would work on the Mac platform… Moxie puts out a bit of software called FlipBook for Macintosh that could have fit however we didn’t want to work with a classic install of Mac OS 9.

We found a great solution in Business Card Composer… BusinessCard Composer allows any designer to create their own business cards. It taps into a folder of images, offers users a trial run (we wanted guests at the Festival to be able to easily replicate this at home) and prints to a variety of formats.iPhoto

Business Card Composer has a great feature that allows you to sync with an album in iPhoto and it will bring in all the photos in alphabetical/numerical order onto your printed sheet.

Just drag any image onto the business card stage and size it to the area you want. Make sure you have selected the image and choose the Image tab in the Inspector Palette (Under the Window dropdown, command+shift+i). At the very bottom of the Image Pallete is a checkbox “Merge Image”. Select this option and then select iPhoto… this should bring up iPhoto and allow you to choose which album you want to use. Just make sure you have a bunch of your images in that album. For our flipbooks we had our snapshot images from our animations numbered in sequential order and imported into the album in iPhoto. In Business Card Composer we put in a text field in the lower right that did an automatic count so if we were to mix up our Flipbook while printing and cutting it would be easy to put them back in order again.

iPhoto Merge

Check out our Flipbook example we printed up for people to look at the Festival – Sheep Flipbook, Flying Pigs Flipbook.

In short time, this software can do double duty for any freelance designer – business cards and Flipbooks. It shouldn’t be too difficult to queue up your favorite photos, output a stream of JPGs from a Quicktime animated short and create your own limited edition run of Flipbooks. If you want, you can even make your own set of Flickr MOO cards at home for your friends and family.

Other resources for Flipbooks:

World Children’s Festival June 8, 2007

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Attend the World Children’s Festival
June 23-25, 2007 @ 10:30am – 5:00pm
The National Mall, Washington DC @ 4th-7th StreetsICAF

Enjoy a unique 21st cenutry learning experience – free and open to the public. Equip the children to build a more just, prosperous and nonviolent world by making an online donation today @ http://www.icaf.org.

World Children's Festival
NC State University, College of Design and the Advanced Media Lab will host a digital design workshop on June 23 and June 24, for Creativity & Imagination Day in the Digital Technology tents. Sharon Marcussen (Art+Design Alumn ’07) and Hal Meeks (Art+Design Grad) will be attending to help coordinate the workshop series in conjunction with Kristin Brenneman Eno of Digital Story Workshop.

Representatives from Toon Boom and University Games will also be present as exhibitors for this event and be available for questions.

Photos up on Flickr:

More information can be found at the ICAF.org website.

Download the World Children’s Festival Poster here.

Download the International Child Art Foundation and WCF information sheet here.

Forget the film… Watch the Titles. March 23, 2007

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This could be a fantastic resource if the industry will let it happen… The Submarine Channel, a web based launching point for independent film and multimedia producers, has started a new feature called Forget the film, watch the titles.

This is the start of an ongoing collection of animated film titles, featuring examples of both opening and closing film credits divided into sub-genres like Animation (meaning animated characters), Motion Graphics (animated graphic design), 3-D (animated 3-D computer graphics) and Mixed (title sequences that use multimedia or mix the previous techniques). The project is just in its infancy, and the collection is small (maybe 20 or so in all at the moment).

Watch the titles.It is interesting to see the diversity of animation/film techniques used in title sequences ranging from Fight Club 3D/video dissection and complex action montage to Lemony Snicket/Nannny McPhee papercut/flash/aftereffects styles (two of my favorites)…

The quality of Flash video on Forget the Film is far better then the muddy captures coming out of YouTube… This sort of compilation usually exists only on the purchased DVD or in collections like the stuff Stash DVD puts out. Either way it can get costly and doesn’t work well if you’re not interested in the movie itself.

I hope Forget the film, watch the titles will be able to take off with this pseudo blog/museum/marketing endeavor and make access more available to people. I am glad they are approaching the industry accordingly. If executed appropriately, I can see the industry embracing this format for alternative distribution, extending the business, and marketing potential behind this. Definitely a different spin on promoting a movie/film then the traditional movie trailer glut currently found on the web. And we know how misleading movie trailers can be…

via [ LinesAndColor ]

Visual Effects Details for 300 March 8, 2007

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300Fusion-developer Eyeon has added interviews with the houses behind the special effects in the VFX-driven films and TV shows such as 300 and Battlestar Galactica.

The first piece interviews Screaming Death Monkey’s Jeremy Hunt about his work on Zack Snyder’s film of Frank Sin City Miller’s graphic novel 300. The company worked on three sequences that required matte paintings, sky replacements, set extensions, fire and smoke effects and compositing. [ Read more… ]

BGalacticaThe second interview talks to Brenda Campbell from Atmosphere, which one a VES Award for its work on the US TV show Battlestar Galactica, which is shown on Sky One in the UK. [ Read more… ]

As spring break comes quickly to a close… here’s hoping we get to go on a ‘team building exercise‘ this Friday when Frank Miller’s 300 opens in theatres.

Just balance all that movie going fun make sure you learn something new and pick up a a FREE learning edition of Eyeonline’s Fusion compositing package.

[via digit ]