Saturday, May 20, 2023

Comic Strip Cartoons

I have made a few comic strips over the years.  One, two, three and four panel cartoons.   I love Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller and did my Heavy Metal Garage series of car centric strips in that format.  A single image, with text on the left for the set up, and the text or image on the right for the punchline.

In the last week I have done 2 more, using the characters from my In The Next Dimension series. I reused the backgrounds from that comic as well, so these were quick to put together.

For the last few months I haven't been working on any significant personnel project, so have seen more Social Media than I should. I try and stay off it, as 80% of what people post just gets me down. Creative posts are great, but that isn't what most people, most of the time, post about!  😒

I can do without the negativity and idiocy.

This is quite a good short over view of the format with the SET-UP, CONFRONTATION & RESOLUTION panels. 

I think most of mine are more SET-UP then PUNCHLINE

The 3 panel strip is an interesting artform. I also think it would be a unique kind of hell to have a successful strip (e.g. Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side or Peanuts) and have to come up with one for everyday, and a larger one on weekends!  Always deadlines, always an idea to draw about.

Being a successful strip cartoonist generally means you get to do what you like, all the time, even when you would rather be doing something else!  

Pretty sure I was never cut out for that.  For me I think the sweet spot is 4 to 8 page stories, put together in a short book.  I have done a few now, and put those on our website in CBR format for free download

I will probably do a few more strips every so often. It is just something I have to do.

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Satisfaction At The End of a Journey

Coming back to Japan end of 2019 was the start of "semi" retired life.  Retired from our "technical career" early 2019 and now just working "whenever" an art commission comes in. 

In High School, electronics became a hobby driven by my interest in music and HiFi. Went on to be "my technical career" and isn't something I have any interest doing "for fun" now.  Drawing was always an interest, and you can find out about all that here. Our first paid freelance drawing commissions started in 1999.

We now spend our time studying Japanese and on our interests of Drawing, Cartooning, Making Comics, Music, Music Production and Model Making.  Intermixed with family things, and short trips.

Have made a few different things since 2020. A few songs, car related comics, built models of the B5 Starfury and Aliens SULACO, but these here are probably my favorites:

The Delenn bust I started in the 1990s in Super Sculpey. The IRIA vinyl kit I bought in the 1990s and just used the optional cape part to make this bust.  

The In The Next Dimension is the first complete full color comic I have done in my hybrid Vector approach. Combines Vector images, story made in CorelDraw and many nib pen on paper ink drawings colored in Photoshop. So combines new and old technology in the production. Bottled ink, nib pens and paper is something I tried over the years without any joy, but Japanese manga paper and G nibs are really nice now.

The In The Asteroid Belt Music Videos uses models I made in the mid 1990s for my DESKTOP SCIENCE FICTION PRODUCTION, and adds to that hybrid stop motion blue aliens.  

The music combines my heavy guitar and synthesizers in the soundtrack.  So they are the results of work over decades. They used Reaper in producing the music and Moho Pro 12 to do the animation.

I finally wrote, sang and recorded single handedly songs in 2021 and put them all on our Bandcamp Megacurve page.  These aren't the first songs I sang and recorded, but feel they complete a chapter of my music life that started in high school in the 1970s.  This one has the chorus in Japanese too:

Now, I don't consider myself a song writing musician at all.  Are they any good?  Good enough for me.  Will I sing any more?  Not planning to at the moment.  

The Bandcamp page has my songs and the soundtracks to the music videos, so that feels like a couple of things ticked off my bucket list.

So in mid 2023 here today, I feel like I have "completed well enough" a few things I started a long time ago. Finishing things is far more important than being perfect.  These really gives me a sense of satisfaction at the end of a multi decades long journey.

Doesn't mean I will not try making more though, and setting off on a different journey.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Not Making What Others Like...

 The Analytics of the last 12months of our YouTube Channel isn't very exciting, but does show me a couple of things.

1)Trying different things I can do, and seeing what works as a video or animation, is effective.

2)Just because I came across something I can do that looks popular, doesn't mean I want to keep making something like that.  

The most popular thing was a time lapse, drawing a silly monster, then animating the colored creature.  I did a few different versions of this to prove it wasn't just a one off anomaly.  Fun to do a few time, but I don't care to do any more.  Doesn't matter if that is what gets views and attracts people to the channel, it isn't what I want to do.  

So Not Making What Other like seems to be my preferred direction... 

Monday, May 8, 2023

New Facebook Bait and Switch Scam?


We have had an Art & Technology Facebook page as long as a personnel Facebook page. Facebook for most of those years didn't show anything I posted there to anyone and I have always had almost zero interaction there.

I have almost deleted it twice, as it is 99.999% a waste of time posting to. That in the last years when PAY TO BOOST AND BE SEEN became Facebooks main approach, I rarely posted to it.
When I did as a test, I would get that the post has been seen by 0 people, even many days later. For me, that is just a big red flag that Facebook is, and has always been, a scam. Our own website is far more useful than anything Social Media!

And then in the last few weeks, been getting numbers of people liking and following the page daily! But after 2 weeks of that, started getting emails from Facebook about "why don't I try boosting a post?".
Thing is, still get 0 interaction, and none of these new followers comment on anything.  679 followers and no one says anything?   Just another variation of the long running scam that is Facebook business pages.

I assume they are all fake, and Facebook is in on it.  Same old same old fraud.

The Internet is crawling with bots and scammer. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

Friday, May 5, 2023

The A.I. Dilemma

This, by the guys that did THE SOCIAL DILEMMA , show A.I. to be like that BUT MUCH MUCH WORSE

I am not in the tech industry anymore, but had an interest in A.I for many years.  My B.E. of Elec Eng Thesis was a Speech Recognition System in 1980. It required training, and for me it worked 98% of the time correctly, which in practice is like talking with your hard of hearing grandmother.

A keen interest had been A.I. assisted music composition.  At Roland at one point I wanted to make a Singing Synthesizer and produced and demoed a DSP system to do musical vocal sounds.

I attended the Computer Music Conference for 15 years and followed much of the Neural Net  approaches to training to make automated sound and music.  

But I hadn't been involved in any of that since 2001. 

A lot can change in 22 years.

Now there are DeepFakes, and AI Drake that sings and composes better than the real Drake.

I always thought the NeuralNet approach was so unpredictable with what training was needed to be usable.  At the time storage was an issue too, but you have to realize a Windows 98 200MHz PC with VGA graphics and 32Mbytes of ram was a top of the range machine back then. 

With the recent ChatGPT posts I have seen on Social Media with people making music and images, I thought it must be way more complicated then when I dipped my toe in the A.I. world.

From seeing this, it seems no. Just so much more training data, faster computers, and the super systems that had been already built to scan and index for Search Engines.

So NO ONE knows how the leaps are really made when more training is done. 

That is scary.

The useful advances in Medicine & Chemistry may also be spectacular.

That the Media is focusing on the trivial chat and Art means no-one understands the issues involved, and not just creatives loosing their jobs.  Fake Reality is.  The impossibility of proving your Identity, or that of Authority. 

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology

The Importance of Down Time

It is the end of Golden Week here in Japan, a time when almost everyone takes a holiday. This is because holidays can only be taken at certain times a year.  For me here, it is mostly a time to stay home and avoid the crowds everywhere.

Being "semi retired" and only doing freelance illustrations when I want to,  means every week is pretty much "the holidays".  But as I am only 3+ years into this life style, I am always amazed at how many things come up that have to be done and scheduled. Will also be a "grand father" in some weeks, and that will be a whole new thing to us.

This is some down time, where I let the cat take over the studio, and I take stock. For some reason, this chair is the best spot in the house for much of a day...

Been ill the last 4 days though after having a pizza bread I hadn't had before, with a particularly light and fluffy (fwaaa, fwaa as they say here) base but resulted in gastric distress and painful bloating that has taken days to get over.  The leavening  (a substance used in dough to make it rise, such as yeast or baking powder) in some breads here does me in now. It continues to be active for days in my gut if I eat any.  I have changed.  I used to enjoy any Mister Donuts, but can only have a Churu now.

It is start of May 2023, so almost half the year gone, and I consider what I have done, and what I want to do or try next in the studio. 

At the end of 2022 I produced over 16 minutes of original animation and music in my ROCK Opera.  Took months to do, so in some sense that had full filled my creative output quota that has carried into this year.  The need to Make Something, is like a like a hunger that builds, then is quenched, then builds again.  This has always been the rhythm of my life. 

I guess all "creatives" feel that way.  They are creative as they have to be creative.  

Has always looked to me is that there are people that aren't like that at all. One of those other types needs to Talk, Chat & Gossip. About anything, no matter how trivial. What much of Twitter is about. The Lowest Common Denominator attracts followers. 

Doing the commissioned illustrations fulfills that my creative need too, and have done a few large complicated jobs this year already.  

But Down Time is also very important. Without distractions, and getting "bored" (especially staying off Social Media)  is important to let the mind come up with interesting things.  It may not be fun, but it is important.

Listening to this with distance from when I did it really lets me here what I did. Nothing musically new and brilliant, but I do like some of it very much.

Having it on as background music every so often, and in some parts I think to myself "that bit really rocks", or "the transition here is entertaining".  

I have a feeling of what I want to do next, but nothing concrete. I did like this recent thing though, but don't know how that fits into things, as am really considering comic ideas at the moment. 😀

We can be found at ArtAndTechnology