mardi, juin 30, 2009

Hard to bear

In her last comment Donna Barr mentioned a collaborative project and asked where I am with it.
Indeed, some time ago, I started a Comic featuring her characters as well as mine in a corossover Story. The Peach, His fiancee Rosen Kavallier and JFK as well as his spouse Mondlicht were invited on a lonley German Estate in Esat-Prussia for a hunting.

The hunt turn out to be rather exiting and we will see both Jack and Rosen as truly fierce hunters while the Desert Peach and Mondlicht have to deal with it.

The story takes place in a dimension somewhere, as we all know that Donnas, just as my characthers, pretty much travel to any thinkable Dimension trough their existence.

I did not found the time to finish the story all that time, but I will do so now. Since I do care very much for that real beautiful script, written by Donna.

It will probably be the last Comic I do, since I decided to no longer work in that medium, some time ago. (I prefer illustrated stories and Films)

Here is page 5 of "Hard to bear". Click on it to see it in bigger size.


Be sure to check out all of Donnas wonderful comics. She is also at webcomicnation.
Her Storefront at LULU

I am still struggling against allergy. I was out with my cycle in the meadows yesterday and even picked up flowers and wild raspberries. After a while, my eyes began to wet and hurt, but it was bearable. The afternoon, I was drawing at my place outside, but then, a new crisis forced me to go back into the house. Today, I went out very early and it was good for a few hours, until a new attack stroke me and despite of the eyedrops, I had to go inside again.

If these problems persist, the doc will have to try out another medicamentation.

dimanche, juin 28, 2009

Another Scene finished!

Today, I finished Scene 07 in the Bête des Vosges Film.
It was easier then I thought, even tough it involved a lot of work. This scene had to be very special and impressive, since JFK is not only falling down in the earthhole, but, in a certain manner, also into another reality. The hole is far too deep and of course, it is not realistic that he'll survive this fall without any inhury. The pit is merely a gate into the part of the story, where the fantastic elements will appear.

As I said, animating the falling Jack was not so tricky as I expected, even the multiple torsions he do while falling were not that difficult. I spent the most time doing the background elements, such as the trees and the bushes.

As for the earthhole itself, there are indeed many of them in the Vosgian forests and mountains. It is partly due to natural topography, but a lot of them are also bomb-holes from both world wars.
Some of those pits and downfalls are close to the road and can be dangerous. During the time I live in the area, many real serious accidents occured, all involving veihicles loosing control and falling down in such earthholes. Once it was even a real huge truck.

vendredi, juin 26, 2009

Hay Cold

Okay, this may be a punishment for me.

I never had anything like hay cold, running nose or any other allergy for that matter. I know it is not nice, but I used to think that people with that problems are just uncool folks who annoy others with their constant whining about "pollens" or "oh no, cat hair" and so on. Rhinitis was one of those typical diseases that happen always to others but of course, never to me.

Well, this way of thinking is no longer valid. I apologise to all people I ever offended with my attitude that they were merely sissies.

Since a few weeks, I noted that when I was out cycling trough the meadows and woods, my nose was always a bit running, not bad, but it was there. I hardly gave any attention to that. Now yesterday, it suddenly become worse and in addition to that, my eyes swell up, got inflamed and hurt like hell. Nose was running in a way I couldn't be without a hanky farther away than 10 centimeters.
Today morning it was better, so I went out cycling. As soon as I was out in the meadows, the illness came back. So hard that I had to stop and turn back. On foot. Because I couldn't barely see.

I then went to the doctor and he said, well it's pollen allergy, real heavy one. My eyes were red as an albino rabbit's. He gave me a load of medics, saying that I will have to take these all summer long from now on. It may help up to 60% or if I am lucky, up to 80%.

Hell, thanks! I love so much to go out into the fields and now it makes me suffer? really fucking suffer!! Crap, that is one of these dark bad days, I assure you.
But I will not give up. I will try out every therapy to be able to go out into nature without being tortured. I could deal with the running nose, but I can't stand the hurting, wetting eyes.

The doc said that I have to wait a few days before I can try to go out in the fields again. The therapy has to take effect. I do hope so much that the medics will work. Actually, it is as bad that I can't even work outside at the table, without getting knocked out by allergy.

Since I don't have a new camera yet, I tried to take a photo of my working place outside the house with my celll phone. Looks a bit blurry...The blue thing behind the magnolia tree is my immense swimming-pool ;-)


mardi, juin 23, 2009

Litha, Gribi, Film

Litha, one one of the major pagan festivals on June 21/22 was passed very well. We did not had good enough weather to be outside and light a bonfire, tough. But it was fine anyway. Now the days will get shorter again, the midsummer soon will end and pass into the high summer. Hopefully there will be plenty of days good for swimmming and bathing. Not like today - it was really cold.

Gribi is a lot better. The medics work. Now I don't expect them doing miracles, but obviously, they improve his quality of life a lot. He eats, is fine and calm, yet attentive and playful-friendly. The veterinarian costed a lot of money but that was worth it.
I am afraid, the other cats are a bit jealous seeing me spending so much time spoiling Gribi.

I finally finished a big and difficult scene in the Bêtes des Vosges Film. JFK on the spooked horse, running trough the forest and finally falling off the saddle. Boy, THAT was a heavy load of work! But I think it came out pretty well. I can't wait to upload a teaser on youtube of that project.

vendredi, juin 19, 2009

Gribi

Gribi is my oldest cat from the 5 I have. He is 16 and the last surviving of the bunch we moved with to France from Germany, 11 years ago.

I saw Gribi being born. Since then he was one of my best friends. Nowadays he has a lot of age related problems. Yesterday, I was at the veterinarian with him, because he did not eat enough and is very weak all around. She made a blood analysis and said, in addition to his already known heart problems he has a weak kidney and a beginning diabetes. She gave me new medics but prepared me to the fact, that his days are counted. Well, I know that. I hope We can keep him a little while, tough. Just a few weeks or months.

At least he doesn't have physical pain yet. He still enjoys his daily little pleasures, such as watching TV on my lap and eating a little cat-cookie while doing so.

It is really hard to see such a wonderful creature and friend being weakened by age. I really wish cats would live longer.

At least, I can be on his side. Last November, when he disappeared for 4 days I thought I had to live with uncertainty forever, and this is hell.

Here is Gribi , a year ago:



Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

jeudi, juin 18, 2009

R.I.P my camera!

It has first signs days ago and now it's obvious: My camera is dead. Not working anymore. Well, it was not a very expensive item and it lasted a few years, so I guess it is okay. I am sad anyway, because it will be some time until I can buy me a new one.

As for the work, I am not advancing as fast as I hope. Garden and Cycling consumes a lot of time and I had many other things to do also. It was Tax declaration season, too. I actually have to make declarations for 3 offices. Really annoying.

I tried to include an RSS feed on this blog, since I was asked for. You can find the link in the right column. It doesn't look very elegant. It was already hard to find the code bit to ue for, now I have to figure out how to make it look less clumsy.

I finished his drawing 2 days ago. It shows austrian troops crosing the alps to invade sothern France. A scene out of "Antique White House" of course.

mercredi, juin 10, 2009

They are everywhere!


I mean: Strawberries! After the wonderful month of may we had (warm and wet) they grew so well. In my garden - and as those wild little things out in the country. On every cycling tour I pick up a basket full of them. And on every tour I discover a new ground. They grow in the fields, along the road and even on the stony soil around the waterhouse.
Really, I love strawberries. They are amongst the most tasty fruits on earth. And they are low in calories. Something this good usually isn't.
I love all kind of berries, raspberries, blackberries and so on. But Strawberries are something special. On the trip I passed by the cows pasture and I saw a cow lying flat in the grass. First, I thought she was dead. It would not have been the first bovine I discover dead on the field. But she was breathing.



As for my work, I get along pretty well. I finshed another sequence of Thyla and work on the fifth scene of Bête des Vosges. By the way, I tried to figure out what the beast would look like. First, I tought of a classical wolf being just a bit bigger. But then, I think it would be too common. So I imagined a lot more disturbing creature, with human face:
First I even wanted to give it the likeness of a famous person, President Sarkozy or the swiss politician Couchepin (who is really ugly!) . But well, after sleeping over it, I didn't feel like drawing ugly politicians hundreds and hundreds of times as it would be required for the film. So I guess the above will do the job.

dimanche, juin 07, 2009

Basel

Each month, we travel to my old birth-town Basel. There we do a lot of things and on the road home, make a big shopping tour in order to have the fridge and freezer filled for the rest of the month. This time, weather was so loveley, I made a few pictures while going into town.


The statue above is the "Amazon". It was always my preferred since early childhood. I was born in a time when swiss women weren't allowed to vote and this statue, showing a self-confident, independent woman with her horse was kind of a sign for me that actually, women possibly could be free.

The Basilisk, the totem animal of the town is present on a lot of fountains, as well as on the rooftop of the railway-station. This is a fountain in the Freie Strasse. There is another fountain not far from this one where I used to bath as a child on hot days.


The Freie Strasse Street on its early beginning. A few meters down, cars are no longer allowed and one can walk in peace all accross the road. Down the street is the artists's shop where I use to buy my working tools and colors.

The Rhine, from a basilean Bridge. It is bright green, almost transparent. Not the stinky, filthy stream of Shit it used to be in my childhood, when all the chemics factories could lead their waste into the rhine without any problems. Nevertheless, as I child I did love even that stink and the waste. I used to play on the riverbank and enoyed collecting bones I found all over there. I liked to think that they were dinosaur-bones, altough I knew it was just waste from the local abattoir.
A lot has changed since then and the Rhine has become much cleaner.


The Migros, the biggest swiss retail foodmarket has evolved into a very sophisticated mall. In the Migros on the Claraplatz (Clara's Plaza) they almost have everything. I was pleased when, a few years ago, The Migros introduced horsemeat to their stock. Its the green labelled packages with "Horse Line" on it. The meat is imported from Canada tough, which ecologically doesn't make a lot of sense, since Switzerland is also exporting Horsemeat. Therefore, I prefer to buy my horsemeat in the Horsemeat Buchershop in Basel, where the meat comes from horses in the near area. Horses that either were raised for meat or old working horses. The price is not higher than in the Migros and by consuming local horsemeat one can help to save the traditional breed which would disappear, if only horses for riding could be sold.

Actually, the Migros even sells Buffalo-Meat.

Looking forward for the next months trip to Basel

mardi, juin 02, 2009

About Sounds


A big and sometimes tricky part in doing animated Films is to find the appropriate sounds. But not only Movies need sound, short Flash animations, Youtube Videos and computer games, too. So if you are involved or simply interested in this particular creative process, the following may interest you.

We have three kinds of sounds: The voices, the music and the sound effects, i.e the sound of footsteps and so on.

As for the voices, I advertised on specialised forums for young actors who are often willing to collaborate for free. The problem is that the actors will have to do the recording themselves, since they often live far away from you and therefore, will have to send you finished wav files. The difficulty with that is, while the quality of the dialogue is mostly good, the technical quality of the recording isn't. Of course, you cannot expect everyone having a professional recording equipment. Often, the voice files you get are of very different amplitude and quality and need to be cleaned out and normalised by someone who owns a good equipment. Fortunately I know such a person.

Still, the voice track will remain a patchwork of most different sources and the final result will not be the same as if all the actors had recorded their parts together in a professional studio.

The second thing, the music, is even a bit more difficult. First of all, beware of copyright infringement. A lot of people tend to think that it is okay to just pick up a tune or song they like as music for their video. From rough guessing, I would say that more than a half of the videos on Youtube are in some way or another a copyright violation. You may get away with it when you are just doing a little video, but by no means should you use copyrighted music on a project intended to be distributed, be it commercial or not.

So what are the alternatives? There are royalty free music loops on the web. A good resource is Flash Kit. Some real good loops to be found there, but do carefully study the rules of each artist, some of them require that you ask their permission or even pay a little fee. Those Loops are perfect for Flash animations and perhaps little videos or as intro for a game.
For a film, I think they are less suited, because often, the music will not really match with the Film content. A film with a music that doesn't follow the content is cheap and has the feeling of trashy porn movies.
In order to get a more individual music for your film, the next step is to look out for a young band or singer who is willing to let you use a song or tune for free. Such musicians can be found on communities like Mp3.com or Mp3.de The advantage of those communities is that they are really huge and chances are that you will find a musician whose work you really like and fits your project. AND who is willing letting you use his/her work.

Another solution is to find a music composer who is willing to create the music for your project. Of course, this is best but most difficult to find. If you cannot pay him the usual wage for a professional Job, the composer will REALLY have to like what you do. It is a good idea to start with the search only when you already have several scenes of your movie done, because nobody wants to start creating music for a project that is just an idea in your head.

Now lets talk about the sound effects. Especially a movie needs a lot of them. There are free sounds that can be downloaded at no charge on several websites. But they have three main problems:

1. Often, the quality is poor.
2. They are everywhere and heard about a hundred of times.
3. They may be stolen from another website and are not really free.

So the best way to go is to purchase professional sounds on specialised libraries. A real good one is Sounddogs. The price per track is relatively high and therefore, if you need a lot of sounds - and if you are working on a movie you surely will - this can quickly evolve into a huge expense. But they almost have anything you can imagine. If you are looking for something very particular, you may find something worth purchasing.

Audiosparx is another good resource, with the advantage that you can pay per track and buying a subscription (39,00 USD) with allows you to download as much as you want for a month. But beware: There are a lot of tracks labelled "premium" which are not included in the subscription-mode and therefore, have to be paid individually. Most of the music loops listed are "premium" but also a lot of sound effects. Of course, always the better ones. So you may find it pretty frustrating.

But since the library is really huge you can digg out a lot of "part of the flatrate" tracks you probably like. Considering the average track price, which is around 3,00 USD, you need to find only 13 subscription-tracks useful for you, in order to have your subscription worth done.
I always take the opportunity and download as much tracks as I can during that month, even those I cannot use in the actual project, in order to build an own library, also for further projects.

Last but not least, you can buy yourself sound collections on CDs. That's what most people do. I always found that they are very expensive and that the sounds are too average. I prefer looking for individual creations. But that is a mater of taste and what you need, after all.