Category - Animation and Art

Postings and thoughts on animation and art.

Tokyo Ghostbusters is live!

Oh my god I haven’t updated this blog since Cyberpunk Harry Potter came out back in April! Wow. I’m really hoping to change that (and the look of the actual website itself) in the near future.

So unless you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably would have no idea that I’ve been working on this short. So, a bit of history shall we? I’m not sure how much I can talk about contracts and the work I’m supposed to do, but I was supposed to have six(!!!) 1980s Anime shorts done this year. As you can see, I have only provided Cyberpunk Potter and Tokyo Ghostbusters. Production on the 1980s Anime came to a halt at the start of the summer and when talks began to bring it back, we were already late into the year. Honestly, I’m not quite sure I could have even produced six shorts this year even if there was no halt on production. I’ve spent the last two months (especially Thanksgiving onward) putting serious time into making sure this short was finished before Christmas. The last few weeks have been a complete blur, and between working full time during the day and staying up to the wee hours at night doing this, I probably would have just burnt out. I’m not sure it would have been good for me mentally and physically. So while I’m sad I wasn’t able to meet that demand, it is probably for the best.

Anyway, production on this short began after Harry Potter wrapped up. I got approval on Ghostbusters and in an effort to not let this series go completely stale, I wanted to take a different route with it. The previous two shorts in the series have been a mash up of sorts. The Star Wars short was Voltron in Star Wars clothing and Harry Potter was Akira in Harry Potter clothing. They each had other minor nods to different anime shows and tropes of course. For Ghosbusters I didn’t want to base it on any particular anime show. I tried to approach this short thinking of it like “Well what would a Ghostbusters anime really be like?” So I mainly decided to stick with a straight up parody of the original Ghostbusters cartoon opening and turn elements of that intro on their ear. One of the most important things was figuring out what sort of ghosts the Ghostbusters would actually bust. I looked up info on a ton of Yokai (Japanese ghosts and monsters) and picked some of my favorites and the ones I think people outside of Japan would possibly recognize from some other form of media. One of my favorite shots from this short is the sequence that shows the camera panning up a large group of Yokai. That was one of the first concepts I drew up for this short and the rest of it kind of came from there. In an effort to get the Ghostbusters out of the city, I decided to have them bust the Yokai at a temple ground instead of in the streets like they do in the real introduction.

While there are not real nods to it outside of the art, I based the look of the Ghostbusters off characters from the anime/manga Dominion Tank Police. I loved that show when I was younger and I wanted to give a slight tribute to Masamune Shirow. I already worked in the look of the Puma Sisters in Harry Potter with Hermione, but I took it much further in this short. Stuff like their costumes are the real giveaway, but I even mirrored little details like the shapes of their noses, mouths, and the inside of their ears on Shirow’s work. I had an old copy of a Dominion managa next to me that I kept on hand for nearly the entire project. I wish I could draw as good as Shirow by the way. His work is just incredible.

I of course felt like I needed to include some more identifiable pop culture stuff in there too and that is where Slimer and “Stay Puft” come in. I did have an original concept for Slimer in place, but I decided to switch him to basically a rip off of a Yokai Watch character, which is currently really hot in Japan. There are some 3DS games that sell truck loads, but it’s very unfamiliar in the US (and globally) at this point. As far as I’m aware, the anime is being set to be localized in the states, but I don’t know about the games. Either way, I wanted to be a bit ahead of the curve, and I’m hoping it’s something more hardcore fans will pick up on and appreciate. For Stay Puft, I wanted to think of something that would actually work and fit. I needed something cute, and I needed something that Ray could really pull from his childhood. I thought Doraemon was perfect. He is well known enough, and as luck would have it, a Doraemon show had just started to air this year in the states, making it the first time a Doraemon show has been shown on US television. So I feel like he was the perfect Stay Puft replacement. When I initially turned the script in for this I got some serious push back about the Yokai and characters I had chosen to be part of it. I was asked to include a bunch of Pokemon as the ghosts. If this short was never delayed, I probably would have been forced to add those things in. When it came time to bring this short back, it was rushed right into production so I was extremely fortunate to be able to use my original script. I’m very grateful to have been able to preserve my original vision of the short. It is entirely my work.

The original pieces of conceptual art I made for Tokyo Ghostbusters. I ended up using these almost exactly in the finished product.

Part of the fun with Star Wars Anime was the fact that it mirrored not only the look of Voltron, but also the poor localization. It had intentionally hammy voice over and dialogue, and on top of that I did a bunch of VHS style effects in post production. With Harry Potter, I still had this element but I tried to sell it more as a movie trailer. Instead of VHS issues, I had added film grain to it and gave it a Laser Disc start up. Maybe it’s just me, but I noticed after Star Wars I had started to see several 80s style cartoons pop up on the net that had the VHS effect. Either I started something or I was just completely unoriginal. Regardless, I wanted to think of a way to do it different this time. So I did go back to the VHS look of Star Wars but I asked myself how I could mix it up this time. I have really fond memories of watching poorly copied anime fansubs from back in the day. Going with the theme of presenting this as an actual anime that could have happened, I also treated it like something that wouldn’t have been released in the US, so I decided to go for actual spoken Japanese dialogue with subtitles for this round. The problem was, I can’t write Japanese nor could I speak it. As a result, I needed help. I threw my English text into Google translate, but I was fortunate enough to have a friend who was able to help localize the text (a big thanks to Kevin Muhlbach and Zachary Inouye). There lied another problem, I couldn’t actually speak it. I’m friendly with EgoRaptor and I have been wanting to work with him for a long time now and I know that he had some experience with Japanese so I asked if he could lend a hand. He was more than happy and he did an incredible job. I of course don’t speak Japanese, but it sounds authentic enough to me! There isn’t much dialogue because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed with the whole translation thing, but I’m really happy with how that aspect of the short turned out.

Of course there is also the music and sound. Joe has been my go to sound guy for a decade now with Shamoozal stuff. His audio work is always awesome and one of the big highlights of the work we do together. Once again, I think his work really shines here. At this point I usually don’t even need to tell him what I need, I’d like to think we’re pretty in sync with each other when it comes to audio. It was a hard choice to make, but I decided to ask C-Jeff of Ubiktune to do the music for this short. Having worked with him on the Big Steel Wheels teaser video, I thought his sound would be a perfect match for Ghostbusters. I requested an FM synth heavy version of Ghostbusters-like music and he delivered. Between the audio, music and voice acting I’m super happy with how this short turned out. It think it just sounds awesome. If you love C-Jeff’s track for the short, be sure to check out a free download of the music!

I could probably go on and on about my whole 1 minute short, but it goes to show how much thought and effort goes into something as “small” as this project. I have to say this time around I just wanted to make something kind of cool as opposed to funny. It has jokes of course, but those kind of took a back seat. I hope people like it. That’s all I can ask at this point. Thank you!

Harry Potter The 1980s Anime is out!

Hard to believe it’s been almost four months since Star Wars Anime released, and now it’s Harry Potter’s turn for the 1980’s anime treatment. With this one I went in, what I think, a completely different direction than Star Wars. I think it’s still plenty ridiculous, but at the same time, I kind of wanted to make it cool, like something someone would really want to watch. It is based heavily off Akira, and I try to cram in a lot of the big Harry Potter moments into a minute and a half that I possibly can.

The animation is still super limited, but I tried to up the art as compared to Star Wars. Some of the backgrounds took several nights to complete and overall I just wanted to have nicer than average drawings since I knew they wouldn’t be moving too much.

Joe’s audio is really cool I think. He never saw Akira before, so when we recorded the lines for it, I had him listen to a few tracks from the Akira soundtrack. I think he did a great job mixing the sort of sounds you’d hear from that OST into familiar Harry Potter melodies. It complimented the mood of the short exactly how I had hoped it would.

I’m not sure if Star Wars started a trend or I was just unoriginal, but ever since it came out I’ve seen a lot of different shorts that have purposely bad animation along with a VHS style motif. So I decided to go Laser Disc on this one, and gave the footage film grain instead. My goal is to try and come up with different ways of presenting the shorts. I’m sure I’ll run out of ideas quickly. Hah.

Also, I’m a little sad that the thumbnail spoils the ending, but what can ya do?

Anyway, hope you enjoyed it. Now onto the next one!

Star Wars: The 1980s Anime

I finally have a new cartoon to share! I was contracted to do a short cartoon for the “new” YouTube channel Nacho Punch (formerly The Station) and came up with this Voltron-ish take on Star Wars.

This has actually been pretty much finished since early October. The channel launch was delayed slightly and it looks like they’ve just gotten around to putting it up. It actually had a few tiny revisions along the way, with the latest version being handed over this past Friday. We originally had some genuine sounding Star Wars tunes in there but were asked to change it. Also had to do some title changing and new logos. It was a long journey but here we are with the finished product.

When working on this my daughters were on a huge Voltron kick. I was asked to make a Star Wars cartoon, but I secretly wanted to make a Voltron cartoon, so this is what I came up with. I had a good time blending and bending elements from both shows. I also enjoyed intentionally having mistakes, limited animation in certain (most) areas, and that old found on a VHS tape look. We originally had compressed audio for it, but ultimately we changed the audio to make it sound better than it maybe should have on a VHS tape.

Hopefully this short does well. I’m already scheduled to do another short (not Star Wars but a similar mash up idea) for Nacho Punch, but I imagine the response to this short would be very important to my future working with the channel. If you like it, don’t forget to share it with friends and like the video on YouTube. Thanks!

We Played Nintendo: Read Only Memory Vol. 2

Mother of god. I actually wrapped up Read Only Memory Vol. 2. Seriously, there were times over the last two years where I wondered if it was even going to happen or not. After two years of work, here it is in its entirety.

Unlike Vol 1, I had planned this video sequence from the get go. I kind of cobbled together the compilation video of Vol 1 and tried to make it work as well as I could. While I managed to do a decent job at making the shorts interlock, I wanted to step my game up a bit for Vol 2. I knew from the start of this project that I was going to use live action video to link all the shorts together. The idea was to do a “day in the life” kind of thing from what it was like to grow up playing NES games.

I actually almost ran into a problem with the footage. I actually recorded all of the snow stuff two years ago. My nephew, who is the boy in the video, has obviously now aged two years since then. I recorded the second half of the footage, the drawing part and the going to bed part, only two weeks ago. I was able to make it work because I show as little of him as possible. The idea there being that I wanted him to represent the kid who grew up playing these games. The moment you give him a face is the moment he has an identity, so I stayed away from that. It worked in my benefit because he does look a lot different than he did two years ago.

You may notice many of the shorts in Vol 2 have gone through some changes. I did this to try and keep everything as consistent with the tone of the setting as possible. I rewrote and rerecorded Howard & Nester & Metroid to make it feel more like a legit Howard & Nester comic. The entire dog idea from Contra with Two Players was thrown completely out the window, turning Contra into more of an action cartoon than it was before. While I didn’t change anything thematically for Take a Key for Coming in, I went through nearly every single shot and made some sort of tweak to it. Link’s Triumph is the only short that was left virtually untouched.

I mentioned the music earlier. I was fortunate enough to be given permission from Simon St√•lenhag to use his track Fluvial Beat Deposits from Ubiktune’s SOUNDSHOCK 2: FM FUNK TERRROR!! album. When I first heard this track I knew it had to be used in this video. While it doesn’t quite give off a NES chiptune vibe, I think it fits the setting so well. I don’t know how Simon feels about his track being accompanied by what I’ve created, but I’m in his thanks. The music for this video was extremely important to me because it acts as the bridge between everything. It tells the story, it holds the feeling of the setting and creates the mood. I just love it.

So when I first set out to make Vol 2, I told everyone that it was going to be much better than Vol 1. Personally, I think I’ve completely outclassed Vol 1 by a long shot, and I hope that you agree. With ROM all wrapped up, it’s time to move onto my next big thing. Wish me luck.

‘Link’s Triumph’ has arrived!

Does anyone even read this anymore? I can’t believe I haven’t updated it since Candy Corns 2. I’ve actually had a couple of Where I Draw and Postmortem videos in between Candy Corns 2 and now. Sorry. I guess I’ve kind of let the Dot Com part of Shamoozal dry up a bit. I suppose people can’t even answer my question of whether or not they read this anymore since comments have been closed. Too many stinking spam bots just junking everything up and I don’t have time to moderate that sort of stuff like I used to.

So yeah, Link’s Triumph. Working my ass off to get this thing complete before the end of the year and I succeeded. I am glad it’s over because this short has done a number on my mentally and physically. Totally taking a few weeks break away from doing any animation and it’s time to get back into a regular exercise routine. I’m not kidding when I say I feel completely exhausted. Between this and the Holidays it has been insane to say the least.

Oh, so I guess I should talk about the cartoon huh? So this short is about the moment in The Legend of Zelda where Link fights the first boss in the first dungeon of the game. The goal was to show how an inexperienced and ill equipped Link would go about fumbling through this situation, and perhaps gaining a bit of confidence along the way. I got Joe on board for the first time in a ROM episode and I think it really shows through. The audio on this cartoon is great, and it doesn’t look too shabby either. I really tried to up my game a bit here and pull out all the stops. I even used After Effects on certain scenes.

I have high hopes for this short and I’ll admittedly be kind of upset if it tanks like the previous two shorts have (not that I expected much from Candy Corns 2). Now it’s time to start putting together the compilation short, ROM Vol 2. After that, who knows what the future holds. I have a few ideas I’m kicking around.

Also, I’ll be at MAGFest next week. I’ll be hanging out at the Elder-Geek table for a good portion of Saturday the 5th. I’ll be there on Friday as well, but I’ll be in full “business” mode on Saturday. I’ll be doing some sketches and what not, so if you happen to be going to MAGFest, please stop by and say hello. I’ll post more about MAGFest next week.

Anyway, hope you guys like the short. I really tried my best here.

Grey and Jacquo return with Candy Corns 2! Other stuff as well

Could it be?

So this was kind of a weird thing that happened. I was working on the Zelda cartoon and took a minute to stop and do some doodles. I ended up drawing a few pictures of Grey. At some point I thought “What if I made a Candy Corns 2?” just for the sake of making a stupid sequel and bringing the characters out of retirement. That night I had actually wrote the episode and recorded the dialogue. I thought if I didn’t commit it just wouldn’t happen. The next thing you know I’m in full blown Candy Corns 2 mode. I was going to use the original theme song, but I talked to Joe about doing sound and he wanted to redo the theme. Next thing you know I’m over his place rerecording the audio, and we have a new theme song. As for the look, my first instinct was to use the models of Grey and Jacquo from GFG, though I even considered going back to the original designs. Instead, I wanted to do the entire short by hand, and so I did, hence the reason the characters look different. I wanted to get the short done by the start of this month, and I succeeded. I’ll tell you what, it’s ALWAYS more work than I anticipate. I worked my ass off this month to get this thing done.

This short isn’t going to light the world on fire. I made it because, one I wanted to, and two for the few fans that wanted to see that these two characters have been up to, which apparently isn’t much. This is the first time in four years that Grey has been in a short and the first time they’ve been in a short together. Fucking crazy.

I missed updating the Nerdlog last month, so here is an episode of This is the Part Where I Draw. I did the TMNT this time as I was getting pumped for the new show, and rightfully so, it’s quite good!

I plan on doing a Grey & Jacquo episode of Where I Draw this week to celebrate Candy Corns 2. Now back to working on Zelda. I’m aiming for December, but we’ll see!

“This is the Part Where I Draw” Video Series

So check it, I made a “new” video series. Well, I sort of did anyway. See the post about the Ghosts N Goblins art below? I decided to take that idea a step further and add a bit more to it so I could make a video series out of doing drawings. I decided to (ridiculously) call it “This is the Part Where I Draw.” The title is so stupid I call it the wrong thing every single time during my own video. At least the title logo is correct!

Anyway, the idea here, as explained in the video, is that I’m still doing a “live” drawing and still throwing it up onto eBay afterward. However I sped up the footage, recorded some audio over top of it, and added a little intro footage so that I could make it a legit “series.” The idea is to hopefully do one of these every other week. I’m going to try and aim for the Thursday nights in between episodes of Elder-Geek Game Club. I’ll be drawing whatever I damn well feel like it, though I may even take requests! I decided to choose “Nintendo Power” this time as I’ve been kinda sad to see it go.

Also, I don’t think I ever posted this on the Nerdlog, but I did another Postmortem video too, this time on Pizza Links. I’m thinking the Postmortem videos might get a bit of an intro added to them for the next time too. Now that I realized I can make custom video title cards I also want to make one for these so I can remove my big dumb face from the thumbnails.

I’ve really been trying to beef up the Shamoozal YouTube channel, but in a way where the time I’m able to spend on the shorts isn’t compromised. There was certainly some setup time in getting this first episode of Where I Draw put together, but now that most of the kinks are worked out they shouldn’t be too rough to put together. Hope you like them.

Take A Drawing for Coming eBay

During the development of ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ I had the idea of doing a bit of artwork to tie in with the short. I’d record myself drawing the artwork and then put it up for auction on eBay. So last night, that’s what I did!

You can bid on it here if you wish!

This is a bit of a test, just to see if it’s a worth while avenue to look into. Off the bat, I can tell you that unless the bidding on this item magically takes off (it won’t) that I’m not setting out to do this for money. If I sell the artwork at 10 dollars, most of that goes to eBay, PayPal and shipping fees. Considering it took me a night to put together the entire feature (between drawing the art, recording, editing the video and listing the item), well, it’s not exactly worth the remaining money that’s left. So this is more of a cross promotional thing. Despite how it goes this round, I will still likely do one of these for the next episode of ROM. Also, the few views the video itself has gotten, nearly all of those views have translated to a look at the actual eBay listing, so that’s encouraging to see.

If I may so be a grump for a moment, boy, ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ sure has limped along this weekend. It is easily the lowest debuting episode of Read Only Memory ever. Considering the amount of time and effort that went into the short, I consider this to be a flop. I knew I was taking a chance with this one, but I didn’t expect to be taking THAT much of a chance. It has completely failed to find an audience at this point. I was hoping that an upload to Newgrounds would help even things out, but it even seems to be having trouble over there. This is the internet, things could turn around, hell ‘Pizza Links’ got more popular than ever a year after its release, but as of now it’s just what it is. I’ll go more into why I think things have turned out this way in the Postmortem video for the short that I’ll put together in a few weeks. That said, I think I did nice work for this short, and technically it is the slickest piece of ROM that’s out there.