For years, people have been asking me about a good book on special effects animation and I've never been able to recommend one.
This is about to change.
My friend, Joe Gilland, has written and illustrated a phenomenal manuscript on the subject. The book is called Elemental Magic: The Classical Art of Hand Drawn Animation and it will be published by Focal Press this coming March.
Joe sent me a PDF mock up a few weeks ago and I thought it was fantastic. I can assure everyone that this will be a "must have" reference for animation students and those interested in the art. The book will feature step by step demonstrations covering all the main categories: liquids, fire, smoke, explosions, magic, transformations, and spiritual entities. In addition to Joe's art, the book will display photographs, diagrams and artwork from various artists in the field. I was honored that Joe used several of my illustrations, designs and film frames. He also asked me to write the foreword.
The last sentence of my foreword is:
"I hope that the wealth of knowledge and gorgeous artwork contained in these pages will ignite passion within the hearts of young animators, and will encourage a whole new generation to carry on the swirling, smoking and sparkling torch of classical effects animation."
And because of it, Joe asked me to draw a "swirling, smoking and sparkling torch of classical effects animation" to go with the text as a signature piece. This is what I gave him:
Click for larger view.
Prelude to Eden on Family Guy
November 24, 2008
In the "Road to Germany" episode of The Family Guy, a familiar looking piece of FX design is seen when a time-machine materializes. Check out this link and skip to 4:16. Then, check out the beginning of my short film, Prelude to Eden.
-Thanks to Kenny for the link.
Textbook in Canada
November 18, 2008
My friend Peter from Vancouver BC, was shocked when he received his French textbook in school. Here's a picture of his sister Tessa holding the book with a two-page spread of myself talking with students. Looks like the picture must have been taken during this particular event. Thanks for sending us the picture!
2D or not 2D Animation Festival
November 10, 2008
I'm excited about this year's 2D or not 2D Animation Festival coming November 14 and 15 at the Seattle's Pacific Science Center. The event is shaping up impressively with hours of newly animated films in 2D, 3D, Claymation and Cut-Out styles, from around the world. Several industry speakers will be showing their work and teaching some of their amazing techniques.
I was delighted to be asked to participate in the event. My talk is scheduled for Saturday (Nov 15) at 5:00pm. I'll discuss the challenges involved in making our independent game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet; I'll share details on my ambitious abstract animation project that will premiere in Vancouver in 2010; I'll talk about my comic work including ZED and Flight's The Saga of Rex and everything else I can squeeze into the allocated time. Check it out if you can!
Lulu Prices Go Up
November 3, 2008
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Lulu.com to inform me that their manufacturing cost was going up. They stated that this added cost would be automatically added to the retail price of my Print on Demand books.
About a week ago, when the change in pricing occured, the price of Wildlife from the Hot Spots went up to almost $27 and Frenzied Fauna and Freaky Flora went up to around $24. I thought that this was a bit too high so I reduced my royalties to try and keep the prices within a decent range - $25 for Wildlife from the Hot Spots and $22 for Frenzied Fauna and Freaky Flora. I guess the tough economy is having its impact.
On a side note, I'd like to point out that we are now offering signed versions of both books at the GAGNE International Store.
The Spirit of Independence
October 27, 2008
Making a video game independently is no easy task, especially when you're trying to make the most epic side-scroller of all time! Because the offers from publishers that were made to us failed to meet our demands, we've decided to pursue the making of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet independently.
After many months of struggle, we finally have a nice studio space, as well as all the hardware and software needed for our project. With a crew of 8 (so far) of the industry's top talents, we're forging ahead to get this game in the hands of anxious gamers by mid-2009.
I feel fortunate to have such an amazing crew working with me and I value the friendships I've made in pursuing this challenging endeavor. I'm thankful to Joe Olson (above) for planting the seed in my brain a couple of years ago. It's amazing where life takes you when you remain open to all potentialities.
Obama for President
October 21, 2008
Last week, I received my ballot for the upcoming election. This is very exciting to me as this will be the first time ever that I get to vote in a federal election. You see, even though I've been living in the USA for nearly 20 years, I only became a citizen a couple of years ago.
For the past months, I've been paying quite a bit of attention to the race. I've watched all the debates, listened to many interviews and educated myself to make sure I'd make the best possible choice. My decision is made and there's no doubt in my mind that it's the right one.
On a side note, I'd like to say that I am completely disgusted by the latest tactics of the republican party to try and smear Obama's reputation by linking him to terrorists and avoid talking about the issues. If they wanted to win new converts, they've failed miserably as far as I'm concerned. I'll be glad to cast my vote for Obama and I encourage all my American friends to do the same.
October 10, 2008
I recently did a short interview with Vancouver Animation's Mario Pochat. Click here to read.
October 5, 2008
These past few weeks, I've been working hard on the tutorial level of our game, "Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet". I'm really excited about it! I wish I could share some of the new artwork but we've made the decision to keep everything under wraps for the time being, so you'll all have to be patient.
While working on the game, I try to fit in some nuggets of time to work on the next chapter of "The Saga of Rex" which will be published next summer in "Flight: Volume 6". So far it's coming along quite nicely. Here's a tiny peek: