dylan's News

NATA and Creative Commons

2014-06-19 14:31:58 by dylan
Updated

hey there,
do you like cartoons? well here’s one about a cute, little bunny that absolutely nothing bad happens to.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/641351

shoutout to TheGoatee for making some badass music on a super tight schedule going off of only the vaguest instructions from me. Crazy cool

This short was fun to make, trying to take myself out of my comfort zone by doing a piece with all these four legged critters. I mean, what’s the point of NATA if I’m not pushing myself in new directions, right?

Speaking of NATA, new sarcastic collab, join up here


Ok, so the rest of this is for animators’ eyes only, everyone else get out. now.

Creative Commons animation files! I’m going doing this with all my animations now, releasing parts of it into the creative commons for you guys to mess around, play with, and use how you see fit. This animation was a learning experience for me, and maybe it can be for you as well. May be of some use, may be of no use.

http://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/9441dabb21ff8a6d6986720b8208f22b

And in case you’ve missed it, here’s my ongoing Photoshop animation tutorial, it’s got more files and directions on how to use em:

http://dylan.newgrounds.com/news/post/897440

later gators,
dylan


Photoshop Animation: part II

2014-06-15 13:48:55 by dylan
Updated

edit: part III up now!

read part I here!

Hey Pops,
more on the photoshop animation front. If you missed my last post, check it out. It's got a lot of basic and fun things for you to check out, including some damned beautiful animations to watch.

Getting Started:

The first hurdle in photoshop animation is getting what is traditionally a drawing program to work as an animation program. When you boot it up, it’s not going to have things like ‘insert frame’ or ‘insert blank keyframe’ as hotkeys like Flash or other programs will. It won't even have a timeline out for you, how cold. You have to do all that yourself, which is what I feel turns people off of Photoshop animation in the fist place, the difficulty of doing something as simple as adding a frame. However, we can fix this problem by setting up some ‘actions.’

Actions help PS to finally become a competitive animation software. These actions work exactly like your ‘F’ keys in Flash, only they are much more customizable in PS, which is one of the things that makes the program so powerful. Basically, an action is a series of, well... actions that you tell Photoshop to do whenever you hit a certain F key. They can be anything in the program, from changing brushes and advancing a frame, to going through 18 different menus and completely changing the perameters of your file. 

I know that TVPaint has something similar to actions in it. When I try out TVPaint more in-depth later this fall I’ll make sure to do a writeup on it. As far as I know, ToonBoom does not have a version of these, but I’ll do a write up on that after checking out the software more this fall, as well.

step one, watch the second Alex Grigg tutorial from part I of my posts. It’s incredibly important that you learn how to use and create actions in order to make PS a viable program. He talks about his actions and explains how to make your own at 35:45, so skip there if you need to, but you should honestly watch the whole video. A lot of what he’s doing may not make sense if you don’t.

So now you should know how to make actions, great! I've included my set of actions (many of which are, or are derivitive of, Alex's) in the .zip file on the dumping grounds. You can use those as-is if you'd like, but making them yourself (or at least editing mine) will allow you to really customize photoshop in a way that works with you.

I'm going to list my keys, along with the general idea of what they do, here so that you can get an idea of what actions can do. I’m on a mac, so PC users remember that my cmd is the same as your ctrl. There are a few that aren’t in the downloadable zip, as I’ve just made them in the past few days, but I’ll put them at the bottom of the list. If you think they’d be useful, have a crack at making them yourself! They’re super simple.

I apologize in advance for how boring reading all of these action descriptions will be. You could probably figure out all of them by just importing them and messing around with em for a few hours, but having their descriptions here may be useful. Importing, if you choose to do that, is super easy: open the actions panel, click the 'other options' arrow thing, click 'load actions,' and choose my set from your files.


  • F1 - new frame. used during layer animation to create a blank keyframe one layer above the current one. It also changes the opacity of the original layer to 30%, which makes for a quick, effective onion skin that can be edited into different layer styles (overlay, multiply, screen, etc.). 
  • cmdF1 - insert frame. used during video layer animation to insert a frame without altering current timing like duplicating a frame would. It does the standard "duplicate frame," then deletes the frame it took the place of to keep timing correct.
  • F2 - expand-fill on layer beneath. this is going to be your primary bucket fill in PS. It expands your selection before filling to counteract anti-aliasing. Before using this action, be sure to create a selection with magic wand/lasso/etc. You select on your lineart layer, then perform the action, which will expand selection, drop down one layer, fill, step back up, deselect, and move forward one frame.
  • cmdF2 - expand-fill on same layer. same idea as my F2, just does it on the current layer. 
  • F3 - new color layer. does the same thing as F1, just with the blank layer ending up on the layer beneath the current. This is the layer all of your F2 fills should be heading. Thinking about it now, this would make for a better cmdF1 hotkey than I currently have.
  • F4 - set framerate, this one you’ll want to do EVERY SINGLE TIME you create a new document. First thing. Trust me. Changing your FPS later on will be a huge pain if you try to go from Photoshop’s default 29.97fps to something like 24 or 25, causing all sorts of annoying timing issues. Get into the habit of using this hotkey each time you make a new document. I prefer to have my final product at 25fps, so I start with 12.5 for storage space reasons (as it’ll double to 25 with no timing issues). If you like 24, use 12 instead of 12.5. Maybe there’s a way to change the default somewhere else, but I don’t know it. If you figure that out, you can avoid this step (and should inform me so I can avoid it as well).
  • F5 - double framerate, if there comes a time when you want to add in some ones, or change your timing a bit, use this hotkey to set your framerate to twice the one you chose with F4. Remember that going up to a higher framerate may cause performance issues if your computer isn’t the best (like mine) or if you have heavy effects, so I tend to save this step until as late as possible.
  • F6 - duplicate frame. Just quicker than going through menus. This one will duplicate your current frame to the next one in a video layer. Unlike cmdF1, this one WILL change your timing. Be careful. It's a lot like hitting F5 in Flash, how it'll add an extra frame of exposure, moving all your animation from then-on over by one frame.
  • cmdF6 - delete frame. This one will delete the current frame on your video layer, I most often use this to fix timing issues when I’ve messed them up with F6.
  • F8 - new blank video layer, this one’s great. It creates, as you’d guess, a new blank video layer. The beauty of this one is that it deletes everything on the new layer before your current spot on the timeline, making it easier to see where you're working. It seems like having some extra tail end wouldn't be a bad thing, but when you've got a ton of video layers all starting at frame one and going on until the end, things get confusing. 
  • F9 - merge all visible on current layer, this is what I use to combine all different assets into one layer. Like if I have different bits of line art on separate layers that need to be combined onto one layer before filling. Great for cleanup animation and just cleaning up your timeline in general. Just make sure to hide all the layers you don’t want included! Before using this action, create a new blank video layer to put all of your merged frames onto.
  • cmdF9 - F9x16, just does the F9 copy as many times as you’d like (16 is pretty arbitrary), to make the process of batching up all your work much faster and easier on your wrists. It’s the exact same steps as F9, just duplicate them a bunch.

not-included actions:

  • shift F1 - change layer beneath to opacity 30% and the layer above to opacity 50%. Quick way to make an onion skin while inbetweening. Might alter it later to reposition the layer above and below to the same time as the current frame.
  • cmdF4 - add spill room. So I started noticing that PS doesn’t let you draw outside the stage, which can be an issue when animating things entering or leaving the frame. This action first bucket fills the current layer (so make sure your on your original, solid background layer), then expands the canvas by 100px on all sides. This will give you extra drawing room, and since photoshop adds the extra room in your secondary color, you can see where the actual stage ends. You could honestly add this as part of your regular F4 key to make it simpler. 
  • shift cmdF4 - remove spill room. Just takes off 100px on all sides.

So those are the actions! Wow, that was a lot of stuff. The main takeaway is that actions will make photoshop as viable an animation program as any other, perhaps even making your workflow faster. If you know how to make actions, you'll be able to solve your own problems as they arise. For instance, I’ll often find myself digging through some obscure set of menus and clicks to perform a task like 10-20 times per hour, taking maybe 30 seconds before I’m back to animating each time. 

That's 5-10 minutes out of each hour that I miss out on animating, and it easily adds up to a significant chunk of time over the course of a project. And that’s not only applicable to Photoshop, I find that most programs have things that take way too long for how often I have to do them. The difference is that Photoshop has a way to work around these issues.

An action, which will take all of a minute to set up, will solve these issue forever. For work, or even something like NATA, where time is incredibly important, you'll want to save as much of it as possible for what actually matters, animating.

Anywho, you’re now ready to get into the good stuff: animating. Too bad you gotta wait til next time, probably sometime after this round of NATA closes, cause this was longer than I thought it would be. Speaking of NATA, be on the lookout, my next post will have a bunch of Creative Commons source files from my NATA round 2 film. Should be more useful this time, I've got some quadruped walk cycles (a hare and a fox) from multiple angles for you. Yay!

Man, I am so sorry for how dry all this info must be so far. I’ll try to make the next one more fun. No promises, though.

here's those files one more time:
http://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/b0bcc23b80a3ac72e049528dbf143629

love you dad,
dylan


Photoshop Animation: part I

2014-06-07 15:30:08 by dylan
Updated

edit: part II over here!

This ones for you animators and animatresses,

as promised in my latest animation, here’s that photoshop write-up. I thought it would just be one long post, but it ended up being a 5,000 word essay. Just wayyyy too long, so it's going to be broken up into several distinct sections: important people, getting started, my workflow, what I like & what I don’t like, and why it works for me. I'm also uploading a .zip file with all sorts of goodies for you guys. It's got a few of my PSD files, along with my current set of actions (which I'll explain in my next post). 

them files

Part I: people to follow & tutorials to check out

In this first post, I want to direct you to some amazing animators that you should be following and watching. They are all amazing indie-animators (and one studio) that are producing great content, and you should be watching it all happen.

Most of the pieces mentioned here were made in Photoshop, the others are just awesome in general. They really showcase the varied potential of using photoshop as an animation tool. These are all guys/studios that you should follow the vimeos/tumblrs/etc. of, cause everything they put out is amazing. The first three also happen to be some of the best resources for learning how to use Photoshop for animation. Here are the tutorials they have made, which I’m going to refer to later in these posts:

Alex Grigg - the most comprehensive overview of the three, he’s made three in-depth looks at the program and his process. It’s a good few hours of tutorial, but it’s honestly the best look you’ll find on the internet. If you only have one takeaway from this post, make it watching his second tutorial. It's seriously that good.

Charles Huettner and Caleb Wood - these two made a two-in-one tutorial on animation in photoshop. It’s only 16 minutes total, so it’s a bit easier to swallow than Alex’s vids.

With all that out of the way, it’s finally time to get set up using Photoshop as a tool for animation... Next time. Cause I think all this is enough to get you on the right track. Don't want to overload you. I'll make another post in a few days that goes into detail on what actions are, how they can shape photoshop into whatever kind of tool you'd like it to be, and what my own actions do.

Those files, once more:
http://www.newgrounds.com/dump/item/b0bcc23b80a3ac72e049528dbf143629

should be fun,
dylan



hey dames and dudes,
here's a short film for ya:

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/639868

it's about answering machines, the 80s, relationships, and love. it stars the colors red and blue. it's my entry for the open round of nata, and i want you, you specifically, to be the very first person to watch it. unfortunately that's, like, not possible anymore probably. you can still watch it though.

there's a lot i wish i could have done differently, but i only started on it last friday. cut me some friggin slack, geez.


for any animators interested in photoshop animation, I think I'll do a write up about how I made the short film once I can do another blog post. It'll probs include what's nice about using photoshop, what's annoying about using photoshop, links to some excellent photoshop tutorials that I'd be nowhere without, and I'll even make you guys a snack-pack filled with some of the film's photoshop files under a CC license that you can use for whatever. It'll be brimming with goodies.

- dylan



Hey guys n gals!

Figured post-Pico day would be a good time to get all gushy over the past couple months on Newgrounds. So about two months ago I released ALZ for Stencyl Jam 2014.  It was featured on the front page for a bit, and got something like 5-10k views. I was already pretty impressed, since I figured the piece might pass 2k if I was lucky. I had figured that since the piece was only like 2 minutes long and didn’t have a lot of interactivity that it would be overlooked by the gaming community of Newgrounds, but people gave me an overwhelmingly positive response. The piece was taken off the front page after a couple days, as expected, and it kind of faded away for a bit. 

Then about a month later, and I have no idea how exactly this happened, the game was featured on TheVerge.com, and its views skyrocketed to something like 50k almost immediately, which trumped the views of any other project I have worked on here. I ended up not placing in the game jam, which wasn’t a shock by any means, but I did get a nice shoutout from Tom in his post-jam writeup! I didn’t win, but I didn’t feel like I had lost either.

Since then, I’ve had a steady increase in views, to where I’m sitting on the 100k view line right now, which is a pretty big deal for me. In fact, if you Google “ALZ,” I’m the top hit. I’m the top hit for a not-obscure search term, that’s crazy!

Since the piece started getting publicity, I’ve had a few job offers that make it look like I may be able to actually make some decent, livable money from animation over the summer working with a few non-profits. I’ve also had a few interviews about the game, a few offers to translate the game into other languages (you may see Spanish and French options sometime soon), and a couple invitations to some digital media festivals.

Speaking of festivals, Pine, which premiered here on Newgrounds, has just screened at two festivals! It was the first time I’ve seen my work on a theatrical screen. Pretty neat, but I think I prefer online showcasing. 

I don’t know, 100k views for something I was proud to see pass 2k has been an amazing experience for me, even if it’s not all that impressive in the huge scope of Newgrounds. More than the numbers though, I'm proud that my piece has been able to actually connect with so many people. I really have all of you guys to thank, so thanks Newgrounds, both staff and viewers!

Happy belated Pico day!

- dylan


a game about a film about a tree

2014-03-29 19:41:30 by dylan
Updated

edit: now that it's off the front page, until I have a chance to fix all the bugs and rework some features in Pine, I’m removing it from the portal. It’s just not up to snuff yet. It should be back some time next week!


hey guys n gals,

I made a second game for stencyl jam loosely based on a short film I made last winter.

the game
the short film
the jam
my previous jam game

I don't know if this one will be elligible for prizes, seeing as how it rolled out a good 6 hours past the official deadline, but it was a fun project to work on none the less. In it's current state, it still needs a lot of work. I plan to update the tiles in most rooms, add a map, maybe add some medals, and maybe add a bit more direction for the player.

As far as future projects go, I've got two right now. There's my thesis film, which I need to finish a proof of concept animation for later this week, and that side project I mentioned at the begining of the year. I've still got like 20 voice actors' lines in a folder on my desktop just waiting to be edited together. I'll probably have to wait until after my thesis film is complete to start working on that one though. Maybe it'll make a good NATA piece if I  can hold off working on it until may.

later,
dylan, formerly dyl, formerly ohgodwhydoeshisusernamekeepchanging

p.s. my last game, ALZ, got written about on The Verge, cool stuff!

http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/29/5559748/alzheimers-awareness-takes-the-form-of-an-enchanting-stroll-among-pixels


new game, new name

2014-03-02 13:22:34 by dylan

Made my first ever game,

Did it for that Stencyl thang,

Even changed my name.

 

Haiku'd.

 

All my loves,

dyl, formerly SafePlagiarism

4226490_139373095183_alzgif.gif


new short, leaving You(Tube), and VAs needed

2013-12-12 15:55:01 by dylan
Updated

Hey guys 'n gals,

First of all, check out my new animation final for this semester:

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/630045

It's a short about a tree, or maybe more than a tree. Ambiguity alert!

I worked on this piece for the past week(ish). I'm pretty proud of how it turned out with how little time I was able to put in. I think it was about half a week of planning and then a week of furious, passionate animating. I'm not entirely happy with the dialogue I wrote, but the voice actors (PiperAnn and SirUndead) did a stellar job with what I gave them, go follow them now!

I should also mention that credit for the snow effect goes to Jake Armstrong, who worked on "Mountain Ash" for Late Night Work Club. He posted a little how-he-did-it blurb on tumblr, which was incredibly helpful in making the snow. The entire LNWC project was very stylistically inspirational.

Things I need to work on:

  • backgrounds
  • stylistic consistency
  • dialogue writing

Here's a gif from the project:

4226490_138688118192_girl_ng.gif


So on the next point, I don't think I'll be uploading anything to my YouTube page for some time now. I've never been too keen on uploading my stuff to YouTube, and all the new YT revamps have pushed me over the edge. The constant stream of awesome NG updates are factoring into this decision as well. 

Not only that, but even my pieces that don't do that well here end up with way more exposure than their YouTube counterparts. I also feel that it's a good idea to keep my work condensed into as few places as possible. I might open a Vimeo account for more professional things like portfolio building and a reel, but my main posting site will be NG. So, I'm a Newgrounds guy for 2014.

If you're itching to follow me somewhere else, check out my Tumblr. It's got WIPs, short gifs, and other projects. I'll probably be posting links back to my NG pieces as they come out, so it's a good way to keep up with my work if you don't check your NG feed everyday.


Finally, VOICE ACTORS NEEDED: 

I'm going to be needing a ton of voice actors pretty soon. Like a whole bunch. Like 20, at the absolute least, and I definitely don't want to have to go through a whole casting session out in the real world to fill the parts. So read-on if you're a voice actor!

It's going to be a weird, experimental, semi-documentary, semi-mockumentary short. I'm planning on doing a lot of things I've never done before like motion tracking and photoshop character-animation, so it's gonna be super experimental. I don't want to get into too much detail on what lines I'll need from people here, but, if you're interested, send me a PM. 

For the documentary half, I'll be sending those interested a single question. You can respond however you see fit. Your response might be serious, comedic, or just weird, it's all good. Voice acting experience isn't necessary for this part, I just need a bunch of people, hopefully with a decent sound setup.

For the scripted half, I'll first contact the people that I've worked with in the past over the next week or so, but that's not that many people overall. I'll definitely need a few more people to fill in some of the roles. For these parts, I'd like whoever is interested to have some previous VA experience, as this will be the meat of the project.

So, if you're interested, send me a PM. Put "EXPERIMENTAL VA" in the title so I can make sure to check & respond asap. 

things to include in the message:

  • age
  • sex
  • name
  • preference (documentary section vs scripted section)
  • optional, but prefered: demo reel link

I'll try to respond with scripts/lines/questions within the week. These are mostly going to be first-come-first-serve, so get on it!

Age, sex, accents, etc. are all things I want to be varied in the project, so don't be shy if you're not a native English speaker or anything like that. I'm not sure what the VA gender breakdown on NG is, but the parts as of right now are equally split among men and women.

Thanks for reading, Dylan

P.S. Did I mention that I've got a new short out?

4226490_138688474072_walking1.gif


one year

2013-07-31 19:27:39 by dylan

Whoa,

Been 1 year on the dot since I submitted my first toon, and that's pretty fuckin' cool.

That's all for now. Thanks for the awesome year, Newgrounds, can't wait to see what's in store this year!

one year


Short and sweet

2013-06-26 05:39:23 by dylan

Hey guys! No worries, I'm gonna get straight to the point:

I made a new cartoon featuring the voice of Chongo and the music of Samulis, and I'd love it if you all would check it out!

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/620328

It was doing really well after the first ten seconds of being uploaded, see for yourself!

Short and sweet