No Laurel-Resting

Today was a good day.  Let me list a few of the reasons:

  1. Kung Fu Panda World went live.  I’ve been working on this virtual world since January of Last year and it’s very satisfying to see it “ship”.  This is also the first game I’ve shipped as an animator.  Long ago I was a software engineer and I shipped one game while I worked at Treyarch Studios.  Maybe you haven’t heard of it?image
  2. I got a number of positive responses regarding the autotweener, including several people who seemed to be suggesting that I could make money with that kind of thing.  Hmmm, it’s an interesting thought.
  3. I and two other animators, in the course of a few days, were thinking about the same “if only Flash had this feature” idea.  The two other people brought it up with me and it got me thinking: why couldn’t I program something that does that?  So I’m doing it.  Coming soon to a blog near you: an animation-disc-esque rotatable stage in Flash.  Well, sort of.  It’ll be a bit of a workaround but it should work very similarly to the rotatable canvasses in Toon Boom Studio and TV Paint.  Under normal usage you’ll probably have to remember to run a “reset” command at the end to make sure everything goes back to normal, unless you’re using a virtual camera, in which case you won’t even have to do that.  Speaking of which: Coming soon to a blog near you: my personal take on the virtual camera, which will flawlessly save your movie (including actionscript) as a PNG sequence that you can use in any video editing program.
  4. Since we “finished” KFPW my workload has been much lighter and deadlines much looser.  When I told my animation director that I could make a tool that would rotate the stage he gave me the go-ahead to do it.  Making tools for Flash is really fun for me, so it made me happy to be able to do a little programming for a change.
  5. Tomorrow’s payday (cha-ching).
  6. I’m seriously considering getting a smartphone.  I bristle at the thought of having to pay $30 per month for data but I think maybe the idea is starting to win me over.  That, or buy an unlocked phone (Nexus One!) and don’t have any data plan at all.  I’m with AT&T, and it seems that even when the phone is unsubsidized I have no choice but to get the $30 data plan if I want any mobile internet at all 🙁

Finally, I just want to comment on something that struck me as I did some animation on Don’t Fear the Sitter tonight.  Keyframes are hard.  Breakdowns are easier.  Tweens are easy.  These may seem obvious, but it really amazes me sometimes how I can spend a long time doing key poses for a character and then the rest of it just zips by.  In no time I go from just-a-suggestion-of-motion to damn-that-character’s-a-movin’.

I love it.

2 thoughts on “No Laurel-Resting

  1. cryoburn says:

    Hey, checking your blog again.
    I still haven’t had the time to try out the .mxp files I downloaded because I’ve been quite busy.
    About developing those kind of features for Flash and making money with them it’s a great idea. If you make things that make other creator’s work easier why not charge for it? If I made those kind of tools and depending on their utility/success I would most definetly sell them. Maybe creating a bundle with all of them or dividing into categorized packages.
    Although actually from where I stand I prefer to have free access to them as a non-commercial animator/designer hobbyist 🙂

    As for the rotatable stage I think it could be useful, especially for those familiarized with traditional animation/drawing. But since I have to do all my work with the mouse I don’t think I would be able to apretiate its benefits. Btw, would you recommend some kind of cheap tablet? (yes, I am cheap!) I was thinking of getting on of those Wacom Bamboo Fun to get started with.

    Good luck with your projects!

  2. David says:

    Thanks for the encouragement regarding the selling of my tools. I think I’m just skeptical that I could find paying customers for this kind of thing. It’s hard enough just to get people to notice as a freebie. I feel like it would be very hard to convince people that it’s worth their money if they couldn’t try it first and see how awesome it is.

    As for drawing tablets, absolutely, the Wacom Bamboo would be a fine one to start with, You might also see if you can find something used. Wacoms last pretty well, so I feel like a used one would mostly be as good as a new one. The only potential pitfall is that older ones can sometimes have part of the very top layer of plastic scraped away, making for unevenness on the drawing surface. I have one that I bought almost ten years ago and it has that problem, though I haven’t found it to be much of a problem. It’s also possible to buy replacement top plastic directly from Wacom, and I don’t think it costs very much (like, $10 or $15), so if you found a used one on which that was the only problem and you could get it for cheap, that would be a good deal.

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