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Hash, Inc. - Animation:Master

Parallel Worlds: Elite Force


Wildsided

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Hello!

 

Being as though I've put Epic Gamin' on hiatus, not cancelled, it's just a copyright mine field that I don't have the time, money or inclination to wade through. I've decided to make a whole new topic for my shiny new project and when I say shiny and new I mean for you guys, for me this project has been on going since 1999. I won't bore you with the details (unless someone asks), but needless to say the plot and characters of the story I intend to tell have been around for a long time.

 

I mentioned over on Dan's Epic Gamin' stuff that I'm moving into motion comics and as I've been flirting with the Anime art style for years I decided to go with that style for Parallel Worlds: Elite Force.

 

Below is the first step toward making this new show a reality. Her name is Amy and while she may be cute...Well lets just say looks can be deceiving.

 

Amy_head.png

 

To make production quicker, the only parts of the comic that will be hand drawn are the eyes and mouth. Everything else will be modeled in 3D and posed in A:M, exported to Photoshop and finished off.

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You are off to a great start Dan.

Post one is only minutes old... and you've already got a fan! :)

 

Keep track of your processes... some anime fans are going to want to follow your lead.

 

P.S. If that is particle hair... I am very impressed.

If it's not, I'm just as happy. That's a very cool look either way.

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The Elite Force is a team assembled by the U.E.G (United Earth Government) to combat threats that would otherwise be outside of the scope of the U.E.D.F (United Earth Defense Forces) or to carry out clandestine missions that the U.E.G council want to keep quiet.

 

Each team member was recruited due to them each possessing abilities beyond those of a normal human being. Be they of a natural origin or abilities that the individual has gained through some kind of physical augmentation.

 

But no it`s got nothing to do with Star Trek, the 'Elite Force' sub title really came out of necessity. Parallel Worlds was the story`s original title but as the concept developed I realized that i had a lot of ideas that explored different themes and while they all took place within the same universe they couldn't all be one story. So I split them into different stories 'Elite Force', 'K-8' and 'M.I.A'.

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Ladies and gents allow me to introduce. Base girl

 

base.png

 

A base around which female characters will be built. limbs and proportions can easily be shifted to create different looks but essentially they'll be built around this model. It's a heck of a lot faster than creating a whole new body for every character and once they have different hair, facial features, clothes and proportions you'll probably not be able to tell that they were created around the same model.

 

I'll make a base guy next.

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(I don't understand the pants.)

 

It's a Japanese thing. (or at least mostly... it seems to be spreading)

It's like they wake up in the morning and pick up a random set of clothes and adapt things that otherwise wouldn't fit.

My oldest daughter can get away with it without looking too weird.

 

I think it's a way of ensuring that no one else will be wearing the exact same thing you are that day. ;)

 

 

Nicely done Dan! You are capturing that anime look perfectly with a trendy new element to it too! (I think that may be mostly the hair)

Now you've got me wondering once again how to incorporate zip-a-tone (stylistic dot pattern shading and texturing) effectively into motion comics.

The last image is a quickly created proof of concept in A:M.

 

post-1010-1358691084_thumb.png

stochastic.gif

Mezzochan.jpg

9650.jpg

speedline000.png

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(I don't understand the pants.)

 

Neither does my wife, everytime she walks into my office she says "What's going on with her pants"

 

Nicely done Dan! You are capturing that anime look perfectly with a trendy new element to it too! (I think that may be mostly the hair)

Now you've got me wondering once again how to incorporate zip-a-tone (stylistic dot pattern shading and texturing) effectively into motion comics.

 

and now you've got me wondering the same thing. I've tried making half-tones in photoshop before with very mixed results. I hear there's a program called Manga studio that does tones really easily so I might look into that.

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Here's a (failed) proof of concept using hearts instead of dots.

The heart images are applied to a clinder as Patch Images and then the Repeat settings are increased and decreased over time.

Animated speed lines and the like would be pretty straightforward in A:M.

Basic dot patterns are easy... just create a grid, grab an image and apply.

heartthromb.mov

heartthromb.jpg

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Here's an example of using Patch Images to composite images (using only a single heart image applied to a grid in this instance).

I didn't work out any holding matte to keep the heart pattern from overprinting Amy but it should serve as a proof of concept.

Compositing like this only takes a few seconds in A:M.

The beauty of this being that animating of the various elements is also only a few keyframes away.

dotpatterntest000.jpg

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As promised guys, here's the series' main protagonist, Tyler.

 

Tyler.png

 

Seeing this guy in 3D after only seeing him in my drawing books for so long is kind of a big deal for me. He was the first thing I tried to model in A:M way back in March 2007 (That was a disaster)

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PW:EF continues to roll and it's time to introduce a new character. But before that a little history

 

old_PW.jpg

 

In the picture above of the main PW cast from way back in 2002, it's hard not to notice especially for those of you that have followed my stuff. That one of the characters bares more than a passing resemblance to another of my characters.

 

atm1583.png

 

This is because Tech started life as a life size stuffed toy replica of this character who's name is Shadow.

 

100_1643.JPG

 

When it became time to make the puppet Tech for Epic Gamin' I didn't have the money to buy new materials to make him. So I sacrificed Shadows' body and used it's material to add a mouth flap and eye rig turning him into Tech.

 

So the character needed re-imagining for the motion comic and after rummaging through my old sketch books I found a pencil drawing I'd done of the original Shadow covered in tribal markings and incorporated that into new Shadow's design.

 

So without further ado. This is Tyler's guardian and most loyal friend Shadow.

 

shadow.png

fixmaybe.bmp

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He is mostly black, but his chest fur is dark red and his body is covered in dark grey tribal patterns.

 

It looked all black to me as well, so I brought your png file into PS and adjusted the input levels, to where it more closely matched your description. The input levels were highly compressed. Was your image straight out of A:M? or did you process it further? I also added a white background so that I could see it better.

 

Love the look once it is corrected. Maybe your monitor isn't calibrated the same as ours?

correctedlevels.jpg

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Probably a monitor calibration discrepancy. The monitor on my laptop died months ago following a tumble off a table and since then I've had it hooked up to a 29" LCD. He looks very dark grey on my screen with lighter grey patterns. i'll try tinkering with the monitor settings but if I remember I turned the brightness up on mine a while back to make it easier to see.

 

 

Just restored my graphics settings to default and it seems I did have my brightness set higher. I see Rob and nancy's point about how black shadow looks, I'll adjust him

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  • 2 weeks later...
Does that mean you the next step is to go back in and finesse with Photoshop or something similar?

 

Spot on Rodney, Next job is to tart it up in photoshop. Add more definition to the lines in places, I think I'm gonna darken up the grey areas on the car.

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  • 3 months later...

I was thinking about PW:EF last night and realised that I'd totally forgotten to post this pic.

 

pleasent_dreams_pan.png

 

The urge to work on the models and make them suitable for full animation (They're currently very basic and get tidied up in Photoshop) is pacing around the back of my mind like a caged animal.

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I'm digging the direction of motion comics (yeah I know I've been out of the loop for a while). When I was publishing my magazine (print) some 10+ years ago I started on the same sort of concept (Scottish storyline, drawn in anime style). Almost had a RPG video game deal out of it and a TV series through a producer in Canada. But alas, none of it came to be.

 

Now, fast forward to 2013 and my soon to be high school graduate daughter is bugging me to help her do the same thing with her stories. I've been resisting, not really sure what the reception would be in the web-o-sphere, but with your approach, minimizing the effort like you are might make it a serviceable concept. Might need to buy another copy of A:M for Nicole (my daughter) and let her have at it!

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I know exactly where you're coming from when you say reception of the web-o-sphere. I've yet to manage to understand what it is 'they' seem to want.

 

I don't get how shows like Game Grumps, which when boiled down to its core is just 2 guys sat in front of a microphone swearing and talking over game footage. Usually about something totally unrelated to the game they're playing. Can get millions of viewers, but people who put in a ton of effort with animating, video editing, sound editing, effects etc get no where.

 

I don't think a day goes by that I don't question whether it's worth doing what I do. As most of the time it feels like I'm the only one who gives a crap. I ask at the end of every video for people to leave comments, follow us on Facebook and Twitter etc and hardly anyone ever does. I've never once been contacted between episodes to be asked when the next one is coming out.

 

If it weren't for the fact that quitting would also mean admitting that I failed at fulfilling the one dream I have left then I would probably quit.

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An article recently posted by Mark Kennedy on his blog addresses this issue.

He writes it as, "Create the thing you want to exist in the world."

 

http://sevencamels.blogspot.com/2013/05/cr...t-in-world.html

 

You can spend a lot of time trying to fulfill someone else's needs but that focus is generally misplaced.

As Robert said, "No one knows anything."

But even given this deficit YOU know what satisfies your need to be creative.

Your creativity should prove sufficient.

 

 

*I love the word 'prove' in the old world sense of the term. It means 'made reliable, trusted, tried and true, to fully test'.

It's mostly a matter of routine maintenance and that of daily testing and retesting.

When David went to face Goliath he set aside the King's armor because it hadn't yet been proven; that is to say it could not be trusted because it hadn't yet been tested.

 

Creativity is like this. Folks will always doubt your approach, ability and resolve and most of the feedback you'll get will suggest the endeavor is not worth the effort. What they fail to understand is that in the realm of creativity, you are the one who defines success.

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Much as it's all well and good to say that if I or any artist is happy with their work then to hell with what other people think. That simply doesn't apply to the real world and especially to the entertainment medium.

 

Take for instance a network TV show, doesn't matter which. If it aired and hardly anyone watched it then it wouldn't be long before it was pulled. Because in the entertainment world your success is always defined by other people watching, listening or otherwise engaging with your product. So understanding what it is people want to watch will always take precedence over whether or not you as the artist is proud/happy/content with what you produce.

 

The same can be said of internet media, the only difference is that the creators of a 'real' TV show will still get paid for what they made, whereas on the internet no views = No money regardless of how good you think your product is.

 

The sad truth is that money makes the world go round. It's said money can't buy you happiness, well tell that to everyone who struggles to pay their bills every month. Tell them that their creativity should be sufficient to satisfy.

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Much as it's all well and good to say that if I or any artist is happy with their work then to hell with what other people think. That simply doesn't apply to the real world and especially to the entertainment medium.

 

Take for instance a network TV show, doesn't matter which. If it aired and hardly anyone watched it then it wouldn't be long before it was pulled. Because in the entertainment world your success is always defined by other people watching, listening or otherwise engaging with your product. So understanding what it is people want to watch will always take precedence over whether or not you as the artist is proud/happy/content with what you produce.

 

The same can be said of internet media, the only difference is that the creators of a 'real' TV show will still get paid for what they made, whereas on the internet no views = No money regardless of how good you think your product is.

 

The sad truth is that money makes the world go round. It's said money can't buy you happiness, well tell that to everyone who struggles to pay their bills every month. Tell them that their creativity should be sufficient to satisfy.

 

You are right, though admitting it is painful. To relate a story to you, when I was publishing my magazine I thought that if I just kept bulling through, printing issues, ignoring the fact that I was hemorrhaging cash. It took me literally going bankrupt to learn the most important lesson of business: Know When To Let It Go!

 

The nice thing about what you are doing, is that your real costs, other than the domain hosting, is your time (and as far as the IRS is concerned, is FREE). So you can afford to take a more artsy approach and not worry too much about making money. It takes time to build up a following on a web site, so put the web comic out there, promote it where you can, learn along the way and above all, enjoy the effort.

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Much as it's all well and good to say that if I or any artist is happy with their work then to hell with what other people think. That simply doesn't apply to the real world and especially to the entertainment medium.

 

Well, I'm not talking about being unrealistic.

Unrealistic is being an artist in the first place. ;)

 

There is a big difference between being artistic and being commercial.

The first will always tend toward exploitation by the second.

Why? Because money is involved in the equation and people will want the product without acceding the proper credit or compensation.

 

So what to do about it?

Be timely and be bold but be realistic in your expectations.

Expect to be exploited because you will be exploited if successful.

 

But again... and you aren't required to believe this... you define what success is.

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  • 2 months later...

Wow it's been a long time since I posted anything PW related. Anyway because it's pretty much been put in the "Work on it if I ever get five minutes" Category, I was wondering if anyone would be interested in reading the book. I wrote quite a lot of PW as a Novel and as no one has really ever read it besides me I thought hmmmm maybe the hash guys would like to read it. If not I won't take offence.

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Love the intrigue and action thus far. :)

 

That surely would be easier to write than model and animate no?

 

For what it's worth, while reading I was getting a pretty good picture of the environments in my mind.

You must have done a really good job of describing them.

The cemetery.

The seven lane highway.

Rubble filled street.

You cued up some fleeting yet vivid imagery for those locations in my mind.

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Thanks Rodney glad you like it. Next to my family you're top of my list of Ace.Co supporters. Also just thinking that making the story into an audio book with background music, sound effects and still image illustrations would be a neat and fairly quick way of adding a new show to our offerings. Plus it would have the added benefit of being accessible to the visually impaired.....Hmmm Experimentation may be in order.

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Also just thinking that making the story into an audio book with background music, sound effects and still image illustrations would be a neat and fairly quick way of adding a new show to our offerings.

 

This would make a nice bridge between the script and (eventual) animatics too should you desire to put the story into animation (or live action) production.

It'd also make for a good pitch to any supporters/producers.

 

 

Next to my family you're top of my list of Ace.Co supporters.

 

You make it easy to be a supporter. Fun characters, compelling narratives, optimistic approach, visible results, entertainment... heck, I hear some people pay for that kind of thing. I wish I was as fast a sketcher as I occasionally imagine myself to be because I'd love to break down words like yours (and others) into storyboards; especially those areas of the story that are the most vivid to me. All we are really talking about is placement of the shapes to better inform and refine the imagery at a later stage. When the visuals are that organized in words already, there is no reason why such an endeavor to rough out the imagery should need to take more than a day. The stylization and refinement of the details... that the task that expands t'ward infinity.

 

At any rate... your gaming background definitely shines through here, especially in the latter fight scene (and I'd say the highway scene as well). While reading, it feels (felt) like watching/interacting with virtual characters in a game.

 

I'm already looking foward to the next chapter! :)

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Rodney said:
Quote
I hear some people pay for that kind of thing

 

You've hit on one of my internet pet peeves right there. When people outright hate on something (not criticise, criticism is an important part of growing as an artist) when they don't make anything similar or even anything at all. Plus the fact they seem to forget that the content is free. They're not paying anything to be entertained for sometimes up to an hour or more. If they don't like it fine don't watch it but don't insult the person who put hours of their free time into making a FREE product for you.

 

 

Quote
I wish I was as fast a sketcher as I occasionally imagine myself to be because I'd love to break down words like yours (and others) into storyboards; especially those areas of the story that are the most vivid to me. All we are really talking about is placement of the shapes to better inform and refine the imagery at a later stage. When the visuals are that organized in words already, there is no reason why such an endeavor to rough out the imagery should need to take more than a day. The stylization and refinement of the details... that the task that expands t'ward infinity.

 

My problem with sketching is that when I've roughed something out I automatically want to start refining it. It's almost like I'm offending myself by leaving something in such a rough state.

 

 

Quote
I'm already looking forward to the next chapter! :)

 

Speaking of which...

 

<redacted>

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Nice.

I really enjoy your writing style. :)

 

Interestingly, I saw much of this chapter playing out in my mind's eye as if it were the panels of a black and white comic book.

For some reason this effect went into overdrive at the point Tyler "woke up" in the dark.

Must have been the the stark contrast of colors playing.

 

Interestingly also, in the previous chapter I didn't get a very clear visual of Shadow.

In this reading he was crystal clear in my mind.

This worked somewhat retroactively as I considered the previous chapter in retrospect and I really should go back and read that section now that I can visualize him.

 

I will leave you with one little tiny critique that I seem to suggest in every script/story I read. It's piddly but important so I'll share it here.

Always watch for those tiny typos, especially stray uses and variations of the word "there", "their" and "they're". As I see them often I assume such errors are very prevalent in writing these days. I only mention this because running across these unintended words can rip the reader right out of the moment just when you've managed to get them there. Does this fall into the category you mention before about criticizing free gifts? I don't think so. Such a great read really deserves to be freed of those type of errors.

 

We are on your schedule with regard to posting chapters but as a suggestion... pace yourself... enjoy this process of serialization... allow a moment or two for us to really sink our teeth into these two chapters before posting the next. Translation: As soon as I get the time I want to go back and read chapters one and two back to back! :)

 

Thanks Dan!

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Yeah I have no doubt that there's typos all over the place in the manuscript. I do my best to read through everything as I go along to keep it to a minimum but in my original writing plan (This was waaaaay back in the early 2000's) I was gonna get the thing written and then spend a month proof reading the crap out of it. But alas it never happened. Hell even the story never got finished (Well I know how it ends but I never wrote it down).

 

As for posting the chapters I can post a chapter whenever. Just lemme know.

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Hell even the story never got finished (Well I know how it ends but I never wrote it down).

 

This is one thing I like about serialization (and love to hate as well); that the story never ends.

The trick being to give a sense of growth and change without effecting too significant a change that we lose the core of the character(s).

 

This is very unlike many of the comic books these days which for all intents and purposes are never ending tales.

There needs to be definitive beginnings and ends but for the most part this is confined to secondary and supporting characters.

A fatal flaw is often introduced when those who grew up on the earlier stories attempt to update (and improve) the stories that they loved so well.

In the process they end up with results that would have been better if they would have just created a new brand with a new set of characters.

 

As for posting the chapters I can post a chapter whenever. Just lemme know.

 

Well, I want to next the next installment already but I also know that there is gold to be mined in the resources/chapters already made available.

A key to serialized entertainment is not giving the audience exactly what they want exactly when they have an expectation for it. This can be a challenge with distribution via periodic release of a story at specific intervals. It seems to me distribution of a story should be predictable (where to find it, how often it is made available) but in the case of the story itself that should never be the case. Here the underlying cry goes out; "Entertain me. Don't give me what I want. Keep me guessing!"

 

It has been said that animation is all in the Timing and the Spacing. I cannot help but believe this. I'd extend that further to suggest the equivalent in storytelling is the purposeful exaggeration of timing and spacing consciously crafted into a level of irresistible anticipation.

 

Only two chapters in, I see your story has this anticipatory element already working for it.

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The way I see that a story should work is based on questions and answers. The beginning of the story should raise questions in the readers mind, the middle should offer some answers even if it only leads to more questions and the end should answer most if not all the questions. By that I mean the things that the reader accepts on faith due to an invisible bond of trust developed with the story teller, don't necessarily need to be explained. The Meta I guess is what I mean, the questions about the universe itself rather than those about the current story.

 

That's why I think a lot of people were annoyed with the series lost. I loved the first series because it introduced strong characters and raised a lot of questions....and then the writers hardly answered any of them or copped out and said "We're leaving that up to your interpretation" I always read that sentence as "We made it up as we went along and don't really know"

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  • 4 months later...

It kinda doesn't look like I've mentioned it on here, but as well as Breckridge I've also been doing Parallel Worlds as an audiobook.

 

Episode 1 - Pleasant Dreams can be seen here - http://blip.tv/aceco/parallel-worlds-episo...diobook-6644462

 

and Episode 2 - The Screams of the Void is here - http://blip.tv/aceco/parallel-worlds-ep2-6714137

 

PW will eventually get the fancy intro treatment like Breckridge did but right now the focus is getting the story established. Those of you that read the first 2 chapters I posted here a while ago will probs notice that episode 2 finishes about half way through the second chapter. This is due to the fact I'm splitting them up because I don't like releasing 30 minute long videos.

 

Anyway hope they appeal to some of you and lemme know what you think.

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  • 5 weeks later...

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