Sunday, December 25, 2022

MASSIVE: a YouTube Short


UK artist John Harris does large paintings with rough brush strokes of MASSIVE structures and space craft. He has a new book out: The Art of John Harris: Into the Blue

I remember a story in OMNI MAGAZINE when it first came out. It was called MASSIVE and was illustrated with Harris's work.  Thinking about that, and a particular painting of his, was the inspiration for this scene.  

A large starship finding a MASSIVE ship in deep space.  Is it abandoned? Is it just passing through?  Clarke, of course, did that in Rendezvous with RAMA.  He also didn't answer any questions he put forward.  

This is a rather small model built from a couple of model stands and mostly sheet styrene. It is just the rear part, to be shot from the rear. 

I put some extra details on the photo I took with my phone camera in Photoshop. Made some shadowy details more in the black too.

Been listening to a lot of Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene and Equinoxe in the last weeks and the music uses those kinds of sounds.  Maybe why Youtube took 9 minutes to check copyright on this 55second video. The mix is panned with dear VR MUSIC for headphone listening.  Sounds okay on speakers, but headphones give a better experience, and something I will probably do more of.

This YouTube SHORT is just one scene that will go into a future episode of our ROCK Opera, IN THE ASTEROID BELT.   Consider the 4 parts so far to be all of  Season1.

Of course I am making these for myself. The Soundtrack Album is also available for free download on Bandcamp. 

It is a challenge to come up with something combining things I am interested in, can actually do single handily, and finish in a day to a week or so.  I have used a few stop motion animated scenes in these, but it is all put together as 2D animation in Moho Pro 12.  Doing something all stop motion would just take forever, and isn't something I care to undertake. 

I write this in the last few days of 2022 and look back at the year and feel a sense of accomplishment.  Spending time in My Studio is what I have done most in the last 3 years since coming back to Japan, helped of course by COVID-19 and semi-retirement.  

I wonder what new paths in 2023 I will take, as I would never have guessed at the end of 2022 what would happen, other than combining the things I like to do. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Saturday, December 24, 2022

At The Horsehead Nebula Short


We have been playing around with the Korg MS-20 Mini for the last week and I think it is a wonderfully versatile instrument.  This 40 second short has the lead part using this delayed vibrato patch.

The MS-20 can also make all the weird random noises and things like Thunder and Rain make it perfect for  my uses.  Many years ago I had a Sequential Pro-One when they first came out, but found it very limited. Made nice synth keyboard sounds, nothing outside that. What Roland makes now has the same limitations.  

Another thing about this short is it uses a rhythm pattern from the Korg MINIPOPS7. A vst version of one, anyway. This is the rhythm machine used on Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene and Equinoxe albums. That stuff is timeless to me.     

My music is recorded and produced in Reaper. Does what I need, and I only use a tiny fraction of the features it has.  It is mixed for headphone use by applying the dear VR Music binaural panner to each part to position them around the head,  The whooshing white noise is panned with a LFO to move back and forth behind the head.  The lead sound moves between left front and slightly right rear.

The background ships in this were made and rendered in Hash Animation Master '99. I designed and modelled the ships around 23years ago, but making this was the first time to render them at 1280 x 720.  Modern PCs don't have an issue doing that now. 462 frames rendered to .TGA numbered files in 25minutes.  When I designed them, making a tiny movie took many hours. 

Those files where then brought into Moho Pro12 and the space pets, music and text added.  Only rendering stuff at 600x600 as that still fits into the Youtube Short format,  works on Instagram, and doesn't take long to render.

The little creature is sculpted from translucent blue and white FIMO polymer clay. This material isn't as nice to work with as Super Sculpey, but we managed. Only a single image is used. Bones have been added the image and animated using a particle system in Moho Pro 12.

See many youtubers doing talking head videos at 4K, and being pushed to do so, but that is not something I am interested in at the present time.  

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

KORG USB Driver Win10 with MS-20 and Microkeys37 Fix


This was a great help today December 2022!

Even with latest Korg driver, had to follow this video, add alias midi1 and midi3 for my MS-20 mini and microKEY37 keyboard, and KORGUM64.DRV  in the midi1 and midi3 fields under Driver32 after installing the Korg driver today.

The microKEY32 was working before installing driver. Installed it to connect to MS-20mini. Computers are powerful, but so much trouble.

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Twitter-plosion, Korg MS-20 and Binaural Mixing.

So, EMusk wanting to buy twitter looked like a really dumb thing to do. He then went and did extra dumb things after doing the dumb thing buying it. I had spent much of my career in software and product development, and for a new owner to come in and just sack all the developers first day was a A GRADE moron thing to do.  EM is no genius. 

But I really don't care what happens to twitter. I met a few people I will keep in touch with, but the other 99.9% of it is garbage.  I can be found on the other sites if you look, including Mastodon (, but my own website, Youtube channel and Bandcamp are the main places to find me.  Even this BLOG.

Staying away from Twitter is far better for me. Far more productive and happy.

We finished our PART 4 , end of SEASON1, of In The Asteroid Belt shortly after getting a WONDERFUL KORG MS-20 Mini off Mercari here in Japan.  

The KORG MS-20 Mini is a 86% sized version of the classic semi modular MS-20. It has all the cool toys like SAMPLE&HOLD, PINK & WHITE NOISE sources so can be patched to not only make a nice synth lead, or pad, but also rain and thunder.  What a synthesizer is really for. It is wonderful to play.

We have had a long term interest in surround sound, as our still popular SQ Surround Post testifies, but to me that also includes Binaural Headphones mixes.  We may be doing more of this after getting the dear VR Music 3D panner VST.  It is wonderful so far.

A YouTube Short animation with a Headphone mix:

Headphones and phones is the major way people consume music now. No one (statistically speaking) sits listening to whole sides of albums anymore the way I did as a teenager.  This Rick Beato - Steve Wilson Interview says a lot of things I agree with.  And I'm older than both of these guys at 64.

As we come to the end of 2022. we look back and see a lot happened. Big Family things and my own completed projects.  2023 will see more music, animation, illustration and comic projects, and can see myself having a lot of fun and sleepless nights doing them.  

Sleepless as I wake up and think, "I could do this, or that, or how about if this happens" and getting up in the morning to work on them is a wonderful thing. Even if maybe a little sleepy. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Sunday, October 9, 2022

What is old is new again: Puppet Animation

Around 1994 I was involved with, and wrote a series of magazine articles on DESKTOP SCIENCE FICTION PRODUCTION 

And in 2022 it is now a much more viable thing to do.

I have previously written about how I was assigned "Multi-Media" in the mid 1990s (which may have been done to piss me off as much as anything else), and actually found its potential fascinating and developed postage sized movie scenes with the technology of the time.  

I still have all the models and puppets. Have them proudly on display here where nobody will ever see them.  And have used them a few times over the decades since.

After doing a few different types of YouTube SHORTS, and not wanting to repeat the same time lapse drawing gags, even if popular by my humble standards, did  a few experiments combining Moho Pro 12 2D animation and images obtained via the stop frame animation software.  

 I think of these as Music Videos, and liked them a lot.  They are however also the worst performing SHORT I have uploaded in months.  The Music and Images may work well together, but it isn't being watched by SHORT viewers, or isn't being shown to them. 

The music isn't compositionally very complex but it doesn't have to be. The Reaper project show here.

And then there was Robotic Existential Crisis. Over a minute, so not a short, so destined to be seen by 12 people at the most. Don't care though, as making this new series has been personally very rewarding.

A cartoon on the Music to PART 3:

And here is Part 1 , a  3.5min "Rock Opera" 


And here is Part 2 , 2.5 min 

Part 3  

Part 4

Part 5

And we have also released the SOUNTRACK album on Bandcamp, that contains all the released tracks as a single album side.   

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Monday, October 3, 2022

Renovating the Desktop PC

In 2016 I built a PC from parts as Windows XP on the DELL I used was end of life.  I used to always get a new PC at end of life, so I wouldn't loose any work by doing anything to a functioning machine.

New PC had a i7 4 core 8 thread 3.4Ghz in a Gigabyte GA-Z170-D3H motherboard, 8GB ram, 1TB HDD. Bought Win7 64bit, but installed 32bit Win7 as the Photoshop 5.0 I used I knew didn't run in 64bit.  It all worked fine with only 4GB ram accessible back then.

At the time I bought the normal Microsoft WIn7 64bit PRO box, but as I wanted 32bit, the PC parts guy made a 32bit win7 pro DVDR disc for me, you couldn't buy it any more, but that may have helped me last week.  Installed with key from the WIn7 64bit PRO box.

Wasn't all smooth sailing though. On my i7 Win7 machine CorelDraw12 would crash as soon as you tried to draw anything.  It took many weeks of looking for clues on the internet, but it turned out the KODAK COLOR DLL, kodakcms.dll , it used wasn't compatible with THAT i7 processor, but worked fine on others! But luckily, there was a free Kodak app you could download and take a latter version of the DLL from and things were all good!  Things like this is why I want to have the old system around and usable until issues with a new system are resolved. I always want a backup.

In 2018 bought a WIn10 64bit Lenovo i5 ideapad 520  in planning to move back to Japan, and needed a machine I could use as soon as getting off the airplane in a new country. The desktop would take 3 months to arrive, with most of our other things. I had done the same thing back in 2001, moving from Japan back to Australia, when I bought a Cannon Win95 laptop as carry on luggage.

So the last 3 years have used the Laptop with the PC as a backup.  Had to put win10 on the Desktop early 2020 as win7 was end of life. Win10 installed as 32bit, and has become quite a pig in the last 2 years, where even just starting Chrome caused lots of disc swapping. In win10 the antivirus stuff and system just uses most of the memory.  

The thing about the Laptop though is the fan is in your face, noisy, and the keyboard is pretty terrible. So the last 6 months have mostly used the PC.  Unplugging internet, killing off things using Task Manager and enjoying the quiet.

So 2 weeks ago looked at installing 64bit win10 and making it my main PC again. Found I can install win10 64bit Pro and use the original key. 

So bought another WD 1TB SATA HDD, same as existing one actually, and plugged it in instead of the 32bit Win10 drive, and installed new Win10 64bit and authorized it.  My plan was if it hadn't worked, I could just put old HDD back in without loosing anything.

After Win10 64bit running,  put the win10 32bit drive as drive G: and copied all the stuff I needed and reinstalled on the 64bit drive C: . Later I can just use the drive G: as more storage.  I have just never filled a 1TB HDD. The things I make, illustrations, videos, music just aren't very big. 

In the illustration work I do, I end up installing some font just for what ever project, so haven't reinstalled all my fonts. Just the few BLAMBOT bought ones and others I use a lot. Also ARIAL UNICODE MS which was in win7 but removed since then, and ends up in many of my documents I still use. 

It was really usable again, and could use the 8GB that had always been in the machine.  BUT, 16GB is better, so found out replacing memory with 16GB CORSAIR DDR4 Memory Module VENGEANCE LPX was the way to go, and did that a couple of days ago.

Ran memtest86 to prove the new ram was fine. 

So a really usable PC again.

Both my desktop PC and the Laptop are not compatible with Win11, without hacking the Win11 installer, and from what I have seen so far Windows 11 looks like a massive step backwards. So not considering it anytime soon  

Will see what happens by the time Win10 is end of life.  

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

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, made in  Moho Pro 12.

Mostly employs 2D bone dynamics and particles.  Maybe some kind of Halloween 2022 thing, but not pushing it that way. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

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. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

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. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

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  

Monday, January 31, 2022

COMIC: In The Next Dimension Comic

 So trying something different. Simple, bright colored, very graphical images and panels.

The movie SERENITY (2005) and the book A FIRE UPON THE DEEP are influences here, but only realised that after doing the first few pages.  Papers on the psychological problems social media brings are what I referenced to come up with the second half. 

I also have to say I find SOCIAL MEDIA unpleasant much of the time, terribly addictive and difficult to cut down on, wastes time, leaves me down far more than up after checking it, and  a large percentage of the population show themselves to be unpleasant more than they should.  

The complete comic is 8 pages. And I printed mine to fit in an A5 clear file. With room for more chapters  

UPDATE: Feb 24 2022. Completed 18 pages worth, and made a CBR file. I use the free YACReader.  Here for comic download:  IN THE NEXT DIMENSION 18 PAGE COMIC (CBR VERSION)

Also made PDF and MOBI and can supply those if you are interested. 

It is getting much easier to ignore FACEBOOK now, as it doesn't show me anything friends post, and they don't see any of mine, without "paying to boost the post" so have really cut down on using it. Little point if no one sees anything I do post. Twitter is still a problem though, and am now following less people and posting much less.  I get so little interaction on it, the ROI is all wrong.

We can be found at ART & TECHNOLOGY 

Friday, January 7, 2022

Steampunk Sunset Animated in Moho 60sec Music Video Clip


The last music video clip done we have done in Moho 12.

The sunset was taken in Kyoto in 2020. Just think it is so beautiful and needed to be applied somewhere. 

My track is a download at: