Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Animation Done!

I've finally completed and uploaded an animation! Technically, it's the second animation I've ever done, but the first I get to share. It's called "Smile."

It's a basic smile, and I took twenty-four drawings done in one day and processed to make a full two-second clip.

I have actually learned quite a lot just from just brief experience. For example, I've learned to treat my key frames as a guide rather than a rule; get the main frames down, and use the inbetweens to make the flow even more smooth, fleshy, and lively. Just like playing the piano: it's not enough to know the right notes, now you have to make them flow.

I really like this process, and I really can't wait to do more complex and interesting animations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Character Heads for Manga Project

These are the five protagonists of the punk rock band manga that my friend and I are working on. A bit rudimentary, as expected, but these are the agreed ideas. Actually, four of them are entirely based on real people around me, which I know is a pretty common technique. The dude in the shades has a Donald Fagen-esque appearance because he has a Donald Fagen-esque personality.

I really need to get started on this story again; hopefully my friend and I can finish something before we graduate.

When One Battery Means Two

Immediately after having finished reading The Tao of Pooh for the third, but most complete, time, my stepfather sent me out on a minor errand: go out to the garage and turn the battery charger off by turning the dial to off. I was angry to have to outside in the cold to do something that only interested him, but I went out anyway, ready to put the Taoist practices that Benjamin Hoff and Winnie the Pooh kindly demonstrated to me in motion.

So, upon opening the garage door, I instantly notice a lone, tiny green light. The battery charger, it must be! This will be easy. I turned on the lights and was face-to-face with a smaller battery charger. But no dial for off and on. Only a switch helpfully label "voltage selector." Where was the dial? I turned to the charger round and round, but to no avail. Where is the off switch? Suddenly, I needed to go to the bathroom. I started to panic: WHAT IS GOING ON? I calmed down, remembered what Hoof and Pooh finished telling me, and looked at it again. Same deal. I simply unplugged it and went back inside.

My stepfather asked if I switched off the dial, to which I replied there was none. Equipped with a flashlight, I went back out to the same charger for the same battery, only to find nothing of the kind that he described. Now, having the flashlight, I neglected to turn the garage lights on. Because it was extremely cold and dark, I entertained myself by blowing my breath into the stream of heavy light. It was pretty fun.

After a while, my stepfather came out to see what the hold up was. He instantly went to a second, larger battery charger, partially hidden behind a few cable, I think, and asked what was so hard to understand. He told me that if I had looked carefully, I would have seen that two batteries were being charged, and then common sense would have told me that two battery chargers were at work. He reminded me that once I was out in the real world (I really hate that term, by the way), I would have to use my brain to figure things of this nature out. The pure monotone and logical air of his speech made me furious and sad that I wasn't smart enough to deduct this myself.

Actually, this was a very helpful experience. Not only did it aid me in fully understanding the Empty Mind--not being clouded by Brain and being able to see what's in front of you--but the vagueness of language. I went about achieving my objective on the directive to turn off a battery charger and not the battery chargers. Therefore, I only looked for a battery charger, and upon finding one, I believed that this was the battery charger. However, the description of the on/off switch he gave me didn't fit what I was seeing. Did he make a mistake? Is this a new battery charger than he mistook for the old one? It really did never occur to me that there was another battery charger at work, despite there being two connected batteries on the table. That is precisely when the Empty Mind should have seen two batteries and concluded that two battery chargers were working.

I believe I know what I did wrong. One of the things I am trying to work on is not doing things just to appease others. I believe a part of me still tried too hard--a big no-no according to Taoism--and followed only the core of the instructions: battery charger = turn off. The rest would follow. But it didn't, for this charger had no dial or even an on/off switch. (The back label was not helpful: it told me that before I unplugged the charger, make sure the batteries switches--IF ANY--were turned off.) Immediately, I blamed him and not myself. While technically he did make a mistake (and whether he was testing me or not remains a mystery), two wrongs don't make a right. I failed to see with my own two eyes that two connected batteries meant that two battery chargers were in use.

I still feel a bit like a failure, having realized how I screwed up screwed-up instructions, but this couldn't have happened at a better time. Now I know exactly what I need to work on to get better, and will do what I must to work towards it.

Thank you, stepfather, Benjamin Hoff, and Pooh.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Preparing for Eighteen Years on Earth...

Eleven days from now, I will be eighteen years old. Eighteen years is a long time, and I'm sorry to say I've wasted most of it with my fear of reality and life. I have sources of blames that are highly credible (all of it has to do with childhood, of course), but I am going to put all that behind me and totally start over. Among the bests I must do better are be a better Christian, a harder worker, and a more knowledgeable self.

In preparation for the big one-eight, I will make a list of things I would like to improve in my life, as well as the things I'm most ashamed of. I hope to have this complete (as much as can be) before the big day.

I have a bad habit of breaking my promises, to myself and to others. This needs to stop. I apologize to all those who have given themselves to me and whom I have simultaneously let down. I can't promise that it won't happen again, but I can certainly work to prevent it myself...