Monday, September 26, 2022

Making a SHORT on Making Music for a SHORT


Couple of days ago, did a YouTube Short on recording a take for doing the music for the 18 second animated/ time lapse shorts I have been making the last week.

But I didn't have both hands in frame in that, the way the phone was positioned. So to try and fix that this morning used some Foamcore, tape and rubber bands to make a camera holder. After cutting one of the side supports, I changed the blade in the OLFA cutter. That is why one side has a clean edge, and the other ragged from the blunt blade. 

Used a pen folder full of pens to keep it in place. It had to be positioned on my desk, up a bit, and pointing down, to be able to see my hands and the guitar.

For the first attempt, it seems to have worked okay in 16:9 format, but when making a 720x720 formatted SHORT, to keep hands in frame meant zooming in, but not enough to fill the square frame, so added a FLOWER POWER background from a previous animation. Could always try the vertical format, but that limits it to ONLY being a SHORT, with a limited life of between an hour and 24hours.

Many other players hold the guitar more vertical to fit the format, or have everything much smaller in frame. That maybe okay with 4k video, but I just used 1080p 30fps.

Not sure if I will do another of these, two is enough, but it isn't like I spent any money to build the phone holding rig, so it doesn't matter.

Just doing it will probably lead to something else. Usually does.

But as is, I used part in this little 19 second animation.  Mostly employs 2D bone dynamics and particles.  Maybe some kind of Halloween 2022 thing, but not pushing it that way. 


Monday, September 19, 2022

YouTube SHORT: Making Son Of a Silly Monster. Time Lapse + 2D Animation


Most of the YouTube videos I made in the last 6 years got around 10 and no more than 30 views. And 0 likes. It wasn't worth the trouble.  

SHORTS are the new YouTube copy of TIC TOK and have to be under 60sec but 18sec is the sweet spot on TIC TOK. That isn't long enough to do the "music video" things I have mostly made previously.

Of course much of TIK TOK and SHORTS is just vapid garbage. It is like people wasting time TV channel surfacing, where they don't even have to change the channel.

In the last weeks made a few "inspired by Monty Python TV series cut out animations" using found photos and Moho Pro 12 with original music I produced in Reaper. Didn't get many views. I have focused on SHORTS the last few months, and they didn't get many views either. Except the last few I posted daily.

Recently discovered the free qStopMotion can do time lapse using a webcam, and stop frame animation. Dragon Frame is the industry standard for stop frame animation, but having played with that 25 years ago, I know how much effort is required, even if the software isn't expensive. Not really interested in stop frame any more.

The last one I made above combines time lapse drawing a silly monster, then animating it and some original music.  It is only 18 seconds long. It got 5.6k views in the first 24 hours. It was the 4th variation of the approach I was experimenting with.  Absolutely no regard for realistic animation seems most popular.

The time lapse section was recorded through a webcam held to a mic stand with rubber bands over my desk. Out of the way, and gave okay pictures for the 720p images I am using. Interesting learning what works best. Found 12fps is fine, and I had been doing the previous things at 24fps.  

Two weeks ago I had no idea I would make a short video and have a video people actually watch, probably mostly kids, and that it combined time lapse of me drawing and 2D animation. I did try a drawing time lapse years ago, and few watched it, but I think that it is a silly monster is why it works this time.

That it was something I would be doing I would never have guessed .  I think the recent years have been like that.  

Would be nice when I can put these techniques into something worthwhile.

In preparing to make another short, I improvise a few things, then edit them together to fit the time. I always have the music first before I animate anything. Here I just used my SHARP Android Phone to record a few takes. This is just one.  I used SHOT CUT to make it  720x720, and increased the audio level 4dB.  I would normally have the effects send turned off when recording, but it sounds better for this to have them on. 

The phone was in landscape more on my desk leaning against a pen holder, but it is obvious you really need to see both hands in something like this. Will have to jerry rid something to hold the phone a little higher, and point it down for next time. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

New Heavy Metal Garage Comic


This is just the cover of the new comic.  It is 16 pages so far, covering 4 topics that are close to my heart. 

On our website I have 46 single panel Heavy Metal Garage cartoons, such as this:

But the new Heavy Metal Garage Comic is following the format of our THE SHADOW and IN THE NEXT DIMENSION, being multiple panels a page and multiple pages.

It is 2 guys discussing and demonstrating various car things. Because that is what I feel like doing. 

My Page Format, is Manga styled

The format I am using for my webcomics and CBR books now is basically formatted to be 2 pages on a landscape A4 sheet, black and white, or rather mostly gray scale.  With typically up to 6 panels a page, it makes it readable on a smartphone or printed like this: 


This is very much a printed manga page style. I'm just not printing it at the slightly smaller B5 landscape page size, as there aren't any clear files for that, and the A5 Clear Files I am using aren't the kind of thing stocked at many places.

The new thing I am doing in this comic is drawing lots of realistically proportioned cars and things. Like the Fiat 500 and piano in the cover above. Drawing them on blank DELETER A4 Manga paper in marker, nib and brush pens.

This image shows the ruler supported on 5yen coins used for drawing inked lines. Stops smudges even when using a nib pen and bottled ink. 

Also trying to make it funny, as that is what I like, even if that is very hard to do. Also educational, at least a bit.

We will see how we go...

It takes a lot of time to make a comic

It takes a lot of time to make a comic, even using the hybrid digital/drawn approach I am using. 
It took much of 4 days to do the first 5 pages, but that also involved designing the new characters with expressions and posses, and a bit of experimentation as to whether  just B/W or toned cars and things was better.  Some "mulling" time in there too, just thinking about it all.

Drawing all the ellipses gets tedious with cars without templates. Finally found a reasonable set of 10 templates. These things are so expensive to buy new and could never justify the cost. Bought these second hand on Mercari. Would be nicer to have a set of 15, but will make do.

I write the "script" directly on the panels of the pages and have characters down very quickly, but then I think of something better, or it needs to lead into something else, and I modify things "a lot".  It is iterative.

In the currently completed 4 page book, I had the first 2 pages down, then didn't know how the next pages should go.  Ended up, after a night I didn't sleep well, coming up with the car I wanted to make the point of to fill the last page.  It may start off in one place, cover a couple of things, then end up at another place, and I want to make that journey interesting.

Not sure how long it will be yet.  Maybe 8, 24 or even 28 pages, but it all depends on other things happening around me and if I "scratch that itch" in 8 pages, that may be it short term.

Doing a comic in 4 page episodes is the right approach for this one. An achievable goal. 

The first multipage comic I wrote was TERRAFORM at 16 pages, and it took months just working on it about 1 day a week. It was in color and I drew every panel with ink on paper. That isn't the approach I am using anymore.  It just takes too much time.

We can be contacted at ArtAndTechnology

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Interview on my work at Fairlight Instruments and Roland


Never done one of these before.  People seem to find it interesting, but I repeat myself constantly, mispronounce things, get distracted, forget what I was talking about and don't get back to the question. 

I could put here some corrections, but really, no one reads this blog anyway.   

More details I've written about some things are tech on our website   and the webcomic we wrote, This is Where The Smoke Comes Out. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

153 Pages of Our Comics, as CBR files for download

We have made CBR formatted versions of the main comics we have done in the last 2 years for free download. I use the free YACReader for PC and Perfect View on Android, but there are many. And these aren't all I've done, just the most recent.


In The Next Dimension

Bright, colorful very simple vector graphic SF stories in the next dimension. 18 pages. Done in a style I have not used before so that the art is quick to do. Most of the Vector Illustration I get commissioned to do is very different and more time consuming than this to do. Kind of a fun break.

Download In The Next Dimension

Just Thinking

56 pages of the comic strips and comics I did over the 2 years so far, mostly around living in the time of covid in the outer suburbs of  Kyoto Japan. Mostly off the cuff thoughts. Black &White comic. We moved back to Japan just before the Pandemic hit, and I have spent almost all that time in my new studio...

Download Just Thinking

This Is Where The Smoke Comes Out

43 pages at the current time. Name is from the inscription musician Peter Gabriel put on an Album he gave me. Inspired by the Historical/Autobiographical work SHOWA, by Shigeru Mizuki, Has historical and personal memories of looking what influenced me to end up where I did. From Sydney Australia, to Japan, to Australia and back to Japan, with 20+ years in the electronic Musical Instrument development Industry, then not.  

Combines Narrative Captions, comics and Black&White photos

Download Smoke

My Music

14 page book.  8 pages on how I wrote and recorded 6 songs in 2021 in our studio, 2 pages on Headphone thoughts and 4 pages on the history of Listening To Music In Stereo. Black &White comic.

Download My Music

The Shadow

26 pages on the History of THE SHADOW car racing team started at the end of the 1960s by someone who may have been a CIA SPY. Black &White comic.

Download The Shadow

And similarly our music 

Download Megacurve Music here

We can be contacted out at ART AND TECHNOLOGY