Saturday, December 24, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
From August 6th until August 11th I attended the Siggraph Conference in Vancouver, BC, one of the worlds largest conferences on computer graphics and animation. During my five days amongst digital media professionals and students I saw a great many things that inspired and depressed me. The highs came from knowing that I can put many of the things I saw into practice, but this was countered with the lows of, "how the hell am I going to get it all done with the time I have?" I spent a lot of sleepless nights at the conference wrestling with the direction of my career. I worried I was losing sight of the mission. What was the mission I asked myself? Well the mission is to create the stories I see and my head and to eventually have a company at my disposal to reach this lofty goal.
Well, after 4 days of being convinced that my current position was not the right path I took a step back, and asked myself what I need to create an animation to present to the Siggraph conference. Well first I would need computers, well I have that at my disposal two fully capable media labs. Ok, well then I need man power, digital artist and technicians to help me construct this monstrous undertaking. Each year I employ 20 to 30 student over the course of a semester and I have not been utilizing them to their full potential. The labs are a learning environment and taking my student through production will provide them with experiential knowledge. Software, I have been using Blender 3D for over 3 years and now it is time to start teaching it to others. The last hurdle to over come is time, where do you get the time to do such a thing. Well you make it of course, you make the time to sit and put together the documents, paper work and structure required to have others help you with your projects then you let their creativity, excitement and ingenuity bring life to your idea. For the longest time I thought I was lost in academia and now I realize I am right where I need to be. I have all the pieces to create this painting I just have to bring them all together and get it finish.
If you are interested in contributing please contact me and lets talk about how you can help.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
What do you do with all the art you have been storing up for years? Boxes of unscanned art work boxed in dank corners of your life decaying never to be seen by anyone but you. I have been actively working to archive my art so that I can causally browse it, and so that others can see the work I have done over my career. There are many different ways to archive and store your work for free, most of them require no financial investment. Blog services like Blogger allow you to surround your with a story, giving it context to users who may be unfamiliar with your work. Content management system link Joomla act as digital repositories for collections of works. Wordpress combines these two ideas giving the user a place to blog, archive and organize thier content. These services and systems allow you to store, categorise and share your work in a way that makes it easy to access. The ability to associate keywords and terms via meta data makes your work searchable and indexable. Allowing search engines like Google or Yahoo to find your work when people search for associated terms. I have begun the process of posting my works on sites that allow me not only to view them my work but also download and repurpose them for creating portfolios, books or prints. The process is slow, but I will eventually be able to stop worrying about losing the work when I no longer subscribe to a service. Sometimes I think the best solution would be to setup my own web server and keep all my content on a computer in your in my closet, but the amount of work and knowledge required to to do this would take away from creating art. The Internet is about distribution and if you put the work out there and people like to look at it, it will have a long life in the digital sea, or "CLOUD," we call the Internet.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I am currently registered for two conventions and I have pending third convention in October on the east coast, VACOMICON. So the completion of this book is of the highest priority. While developing the book I am going to do my best to create tutorials and point out others that I find useful.
My younger brother is a artist as well, and has expressed that he doesn't quite understand MyPaint. It is my primary tool, and perhaps the best digital drawing application I have ever use. It offers an infinite canvas which I believe makes it ideal for doodling, and then transitioning into actual production work on the same canvas. Imagine an infinite piece of butcher. Here is a basic getting started guide on the MyPaint website.
I hope to have two pages finished by the end of the week. So stay tuned.
Monday, July 25, 2011
In 1999 my college graphics professor introduced me to an organization that would change the course of my life. I began studying computer science cause it was the thing to do at the time. Little did I know I would find and artistic outlet in the field. Siggraph is one of the worlds largest computer graphic conferences in the world, and holds the distinction for being the place where John Lasseter debuted the works of Pixar. In 2001 I attended my first Siggraph as student volunteer, and I returned each year until 2005 ending my tenure as ex-student volunteer ( XSV ) team leader. This year I will be attending as a professional volunteer with the intent of eventually becoming a committee member. It is funny how things come full circle. At my first Siggraph I was a student volunteer working with the SiGTV, which posted daily updates from the conference and pushed it out to TV’s around the conference hall. This year I will be serving as a video editor for the scoop team, we will be responsible for creating video podcast which people will be able to access from anywhere. The SCOOP team position will give me the opportunity to see a different side of the conference and connect with some of the organizations I have been following on line.
My intent for Siggraph this year is to connect more with the Open Source 3D graphics community, specifically the Blender Foundation. Each year the Blender Foundation produces an Open Source Movie Project to test the latest version of their software. Essentially they put advance user and developers into a room and let them hammer on the software until it is production ready. This effort leads to the refining of functionality, resolution of bugs, development of new features, and production of a short animated film. The blender foundation has had 4 such projects and each of them have made a great impact on the proliferation and popularity of the Blender 3D. The greatest part about these projects is that they are open. The foundation share all of their production process through a series of instructional DVDs. The money generated is used to fund the foundation .
I would love to participate in one of these open source projects in whatever capacity I can, and put the knowledge toward my Open Comic Project. Siggraph begins August 7 and runs until the 11th, in Vancouver, BC. I am sure it will be a whirlwind of activity and I am planning to keep you all up to date.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
I am on the road and trying to stay up with the blog, but I was unable to bring my Linux system so I am working on a Mac. In an effort to maintain my open source process, I decided to use an online open drawing system called Oekaki. There are many types of Oekaki and each have different features. This allows me to draw directly in the browser and submit to their server. So I will try to have a better post tomorrow, but until then enjoy.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
An underlying philosophy of Open Source Software is to release often. So errors in Open Source programs can be reported to the developers, and there is a great chance that change will be worked into a future release. The release cycles are much longer with commercial software, and it is more likely you will have to buy the next version of the software to take advantage of the fix.
Scribus is an open source desktop publishing application. I use it to create the layouts for my books and print materials. I have even used it for creating wire-frames for websites. Similar to Adobe InDesign, Scribus gives you all the tools you need to create multi-page dynamic layouts and even control character and paragraph styling. It runs on both Mac and PC, but runs the best in a Linux environment.
Everyday I use Scribus I venture more into its advanced features. Like every program it has its hick-ups and their are some interface issues that I would like to bring to the attention of the the Scribus development community. As a new member of the Scribus forum I posted a new topic to introduce myself and have already started receiving feed back and valuable information. Please check out Scribus and if you are a designer its not a bad idea to put this one in your tool kit.
Open Source Software is for the community by the community. Help build the tools you need go Open Source.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Here is a look into my first official art website from 2004: Nick Butler's Head Trip
Monday, July 11, 2011
Page 1: Splash page
Hotel room there is evidence of a two person party
Panel 1: Close up of a woman's face. She is sleeping, in the foreground we see a gun.
Panel 2: Behind her a man sits up trying to sneak out.
Panel 3: Her eyes open as he gets out of bed slowly.
Panel 4: We see him gathering his stuff
Panel 5: She sits up in bed holding the gun, and asks,"Where you going?"
Panel 1: He replies, "I can't do this anymore, I am getting off the street." "What about us," she asks, "I can' take care of you, keep you happy." "Your a pirate, and outlaw, there is not future for us," he says.
Panel2: She leans on the head board cocking the gun, " You not leaving without giving me a kiss are you."
Panel 3: The two stand off in the bed room in silence. "They are coming to get me." He says. "Who's coming?" She asks. "The prophets."
Panel 4: A pidgeon flutters from teh window ledge.
Panel 1: He makes a dash for the door.
Panel 2: She fires, bullets trail behind him.
Panel 3: They burst into the halway.
Panel 4: They make thire way to the roof.
Panel 5: The prophets appear on the roof.
Panel 1: He makes his way to roof
Panel 2: She stands with gun trained on him
Panel 3: The prophets are unmoved by the commotion, they simply stand waiting.
Panel 4: Her grimace breaks and she drops the gun, and pleads for him to stay.
Panel 5: He says he can't and he and the prophets begin to vanish.
Panel 1: She runs to him and reaches for him
Panel 2: Her hand dematerializes with the guy and the prophets.
Panel 3: She is huddled in pain.
Panel 4: We close in on her face, her face is bent with rage.
Panel 1: A robotic hand reaches out for a floating image.
Panel 2: A door opens
Panel 3: The page standing at the door, "We have found the Prophet Temple."
Panel 4: An older version of the woman stands amongst digital pictures, "Excellent."
Friday, July 8, 2011
A perpetual victim of love, Kaleb decides to move to earth to get a new start. He is greeted by his exiled friends, Roxy and Karma. Just after his arrival on this new planet Kaleb is run over by Callie, an ultra-liberal University Spanish Prof, with an inability to commit to anything. Followed to Earth by Princess Kayla, Kaleb's former fiancée. She sets up a puppet Authoritarian regime in Brazil, and uses the power of the Dark Pipe to control the minds of men. Kaleb now tries to build a new life and stop Kayla’s campaign to conquer the planet.
Page 1: Splash
Kaleb is in the middle of a space battle punching into the side of a space crusier, behind him we see other super powered beings in combat with other space cruisers and fighters.
We were the Queen's Men. The 82nd Planetary Defense Force. We were charged with keeping the peace.
I was their leader until my girlfriend left me.
Page 2 & 3: Two Page Spread
I have been adrift since the break-up.
Panel 2: We see a streak in the sky and two dogs sitting under a tree in the foreground.
Some friends suggested I come stay with them, try a new environment.
Page 4 & 5: Two Page Spread
Panel 1: The two dogs chase the sky streak
New starts are hard and...
Panel 2: Explosion of impact
Panel 1: There is a smoking Crater where Kaleb has impacted.
Panel 2: Kaleb's silhouetted hand comes out of the crater
Panel 3: Kaleb is crawling his way out of the pit.
Panel 4: Roxy and Karma look down on Kaleb. Roxy is a grey cattle dog and Karma is a miniature black lab.
Panel 5: Karma licks Kaleb on the face "SLURRP"
Panel 1: Kaleb Wipes his face.
What was that?
Panel 2: Karma sits looking looking back at Kaleb
An Earth greeting.
Panel 3: Kaleb climbs out of the crater, Roxy and Karma walk next to him.
Roxy, Karma, it is good to see you both again.
Did either of you bring some pants?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The goal of my Open Comic Project is to show that free/libre open source software can produce professional quality products, provided you have a clearly identified target and community involvement.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
A friend of mine who is a great graphic designer has now decided to pursue finance. He claims he has run out of ideas. How can someone run out of ideas? All the projects I am currently working on are ideas that I conceived more then 7 years ago. It is time to write down your ideas. Don't wait, get them on paper. It may be another 30 years before you get to them but they will be there, patiently waiting.
Where do ideas come from? Where do ideas go? For me they come from the doodles I do in my sketch books. The sketch book is a forum for pictures and texts. It allows me to work through ideas without worrying about structure. I have sketchbooks in my crates which go back to highschool, and I plan to work my way backwards completing these projects.
The Disciples of the Night was originally Nick Butler's Head Trip. The Head Trip was a graphic narrative, based on my time in L.A.. It then turned into diary entries, and from there it evolved into a story incorporating vampires, angels and gods. The book has evolved over the years into a story about an artist struggling with addiction and distraction.
Ideas evolve, plant the seed, and as you grow as an artist these pieces can be reaped and remixed into new ideas. Old ideas become new ideas.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Westheimer rule states,
"To estimate the time it takes to do a task: estimate
the time you think it should take, multiply by 2, and
change the unit of measure to the next highest unit.
Thus we allocate 2 days for a one hour task."
At the beginning of this blog I estimated that I would be producing a page a day. If we apply Westheimer's rule, 2 weeks.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Following the Burning Safari Team's lead I am trying to do more pre-visualization. The piece today is a character turn around for the father and daughter from the Revenge script. The turn around will make it easier to find character poses.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
I had intended to draw an entire page. We started brainstorming, one of my favorite parts of the process. She would put an idea on the table, and I would build on it. For about an hour we played off each other ideas. Never saying "no" to an idea, but "yes, and...." Ideas need to keep moving. In a creative discussion you have to nurture an idea and let it grow. After a few acting sessions and dialog run-throughs, we whittled it down to a four panel page of suspense.
Scene 1: Little girl sitting on bed, stream of light cuts through the darkness.
Scene 2: Mom and Dad taking stance in the court yard.
YOU ALL MUST DIE!
Quite, Shi's sleeping. This is crazy, why are you doing this?
Scene 3: Daughter sneaking down the hall.
Scene 4: Mom horizontally strikes at Dad. Dad jumps above sword coming down with a death blow. Shi is watching in the background.
Revenge is for the weak.
I reread the script and began drawing the scene again. This time I understood the father's build and the mom's elegance. I worked this into the action. Mom's dress really helps to emphasis her movement and Dad's short stature makes it easy to compress his body enough to stay in the frame. I also realize that this is not my final image but a sketch for the actual page. I wasted a lot of time trying to save time, and it bit me. Do yourself the favor, and take time to plan things out.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
When I left college I swore I was done with writing papers and looking up facts. Now I realize research is one of the most important parts of developing art, comic books, and animation. I always knew research was a large part of writing, but while working on this latest character development piece I found myself searching out images and information very similar to the way I would on a paper or report.
The comic is set in Feudal Japan. My initial Google search brought up mostly pop culture images and anime. In order to find true images and facts I had to make a more educated search. Although set in Japan, the story revolves around the human slave trade. This is what brought the Masked Man and the Blonde Assassin to Japan where they are unlike anyone else. For me the story's genesis is the question."What would have become of foreign slaves in Japan, prior to the arrival of the west."
I chose a date range based on Japanese art of the 1600's - 1700's, during the Edo Period. My decision to set the book in the 1690's was determined primarily by ink brush, watercolor, and block print art of the time. For my piece I took inspiration directly from the artist Hishikawa Moronobu. Moronobu's work is my best reference for Japanese cultural aesthetics of the time. I am inspired by his line work, blocks of black, and patterned fabric. His graphic style translates well into comic form. The goal is to create something believable. It is the aesthetic texture and detail which makes the environment and clothing feel real.
Authenticity sells stories, and you can only find it at the source. I always viewed using references for creating work as cheating, but now I am starting to understand the saying, "Good artist borrow, great artist steal."
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Thumbnailing is an essential technique for figuring out composition. The thumbnail lets you get your ideas on the page in miniature, this will allow you to see the graphic statement of a panel or character. The goal is to make each panel of the comic read like a sign. This means the each panel should tell you what is going on without words. As you develop the full comic page, you start to bring out more of the character details that enhance the story points. In comics contrast is your friend. Use black and white, ( Light and Dark ) to help establish the scene. This assists in helping to control the eye of the viewer. Your goal in comics is to move the viewers eye over the image like it would over text, soaking up the story.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
In 2005 while living at my older brothers house I sat down and just started drawing a comic set in a feudal Japan. It is your typical Romeo and Juliette, she is from one Assassin's line he is from another, both slaves to their craft.
"In the shadow of an aging clan leader, events have been set in motion to free the masked man and blonde assasin from their gilded cages, but revenge has a sweet way of poisoning things."
This is some initial character design for the first book due in October. I am trying to keep the shapes simple, this will make it a lot easier to draw. Minimizing character complexity allows me to focus on character action. I am planning this as my second Open Book Project. The Open Book Project, is an effort to create a comic using an open development model, and open source tools.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I can't get no...