Summer ’18

Well now, it’s been a while. Stuff happened so let’s talk about them before I get preoccupied with even more stuff.

PART I: THE FUN THING ABOUT NOTHING

I went on a trip to an island somewhere in Sorsogon. I was there with some of my co-workers and we all have that understanding among ourselves about how much we needed this break away from the office. It was a few hours away from my parent’s hometown so the whole experience was new. No, it’s not the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen clearer water and finer sand. But it was definitely one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. You know why? Because that was the only vacation where I actually get to do NOTHING!

And by “nothing” I mean just staying inside the cottage and waiting until it was okay to swim under the sun.

I used to believe that in order for a getaway at the beach to be worthwhile, I had to stay in the water for as long as I can. And I would just end up extremely tanned and nothing much has changed within me. I finally understood that delightful feeling of watching the waves as I breathe the fresh air of the ocean. I finally realized, in rare moments with nature like these, how important it is to pause for a while and reflect on life. Without plans and without other places to be. It was as if I was stuck in another space and it was just me and that horizon. And everything was at peace.

PART II: SUCH FOL-DE-ROL AND FIDDLE-DEE-DEE OF COURSE IS

I also went on another musical phase. I got obsessed with Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (2013). I guess it all started with watching Broadway Princess Party on Youtube. The whole event was fun enough–you get to see Broadway actors singing classic Disney songs. And one of those actors was Laura Osnes. Some of her performances was this beautiful medley of Disney songs and this wonderful rendition of “I See the Light” with Zachary Levi (guy who voiced Flynn Rider from Tangled).

In my everyday experience with music, I get to listen to beautiful voices by beautiful people from beautiful songs. But there are just some voices where you’d want for more. Laura’s was one of them. And I scrambled my way through Spotify and looked for her just to satisfy my ears. And that’s when I found myself drowned in this classic tale of glass slippers and fairygodmothers and dreams. And even though Cinderella is not my favorite (part of that is her passivity towards her so-called dreams because it shall be taken care of by karma and her deus ex-fairygodmother), she has become part of my childhood. And man, the songs were catchy and magical.

PART III: CUTE NAMES LIKE HIMIKO AND EZIO

I stopped playing Skyrim. And did that make me a more productive person? Nope. It was only replaced by more video games, Tomb Raider (2013) and Assassin’s Creed II. 

I’d like to start with Assassin’s Creed II since there’s a lot to talk about in Tomb Raider (2013). My first experience with this game was back in 2014 when I got this laptop from my cousin and there was Assassin’s Creed: Revelation installed. And I’m pretty sure I mentioned a little bit about it here. Anyway, it was a fun game. The parkour was awesome and having that liberty on choosing what kind of kill you’d do for a target was an exhilarating feeling.

Let’s move on to Tomb Raider (2013). I am in love with Lara Croft’s character in this particular game. Well, she has been part of my childhood but I didn’t quite relate to her. She was just, at least for me, a badass Angelina Jolie character and nothing more.

Then this game came along and suddenly, Lara Croft was like this girl you see in school but never really know and you never really cared. And then you two got stuck in a situation, like a lab partner in Science class or something. And she turned out to be a really cool person and you two become really awesome friends. And you’re sort of torn between jealousy and attraction because she’s really hot and really badass and she has everything you do not have. You either want to make out with her or push her in the hallways just to check if she’s vulnerable to embarrassment because seriously you can’t be all that perfect what the hell, girl, there has to be a flaw!

Anyway, Tomb Raider (2013) is an awesome game. Sure, the graphics and gameplay was already good enough but the thing that I really loved about it is the actual story of how Lara came to be. She started as this selfish, curious explorer who cared more about uncovering answers than the welfare of the people around her. Which then led to consequences and she gradually changed into this human being who is determined to save her friends despite the danger that comes her way. Then again, it may be because of guilt. I mean, if I were her, I would want to save everyone knowing the fact the I was the reason they were there in the first place.

Whatever she was, it didn’t really matter. I was inspired by her determination, resourcefulness and care for other people. To be honest, I see so much of Nancy Drew in her. I guess that’s the reason why I love her.

PART IV: SHORT MENTION OF NON-EXISTENT STUFF

Now, I have been made fun of for being attracted to video game characters. First of all, I am not attracted to video game characters. Second, even if I was, which I’m not, video game characters are no different from film characters or book characters. Sure, these are non-existent characters but see, there’s this thing in philosophy about universe of discourse and y’all guys should check it.

My point here is that I have come to relate to these video game characters more than the people in real life and that makes them stood out. That makes me interested and engaged (or maybe even attracted) to them.

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Art Journal #10: Flame Yo

04-01.jpg

I’ve moved passed the airbrushes and tried out a harder and rougher texture. I was really happy with the result! Thank god I saved the brushes I used. I will experiment more until I’m satisfied with the look. The key for controlling the colors is a chiseled eraser which is a default brush in Photoshop. Another development here are the highlights. This is why my past pieces looked dull and dark.

I guess one thing I didn’t really like are the thick outlines (I’ve been trying line arts for a while now and I still have a long way to go!). Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen pieces with outlines but I still have to figure out how they work.

That’s about it. I’ll see you on the next piece!

6 Months

I just want to stop by and talk about work. I just realized I don’t really talk about my job much because I don’t think it’s…polite? proper? I don’t know, when you’re putting stuff out there in the internet, there are specific things that you avoid talking about. Things that may affect your relationships, your career and even your future. Also, there isn’t really much to talk about because…I don’t talk about the lectures that I listened to when I was still at school. It’s the same like that.

But something really divine happened. Nope, it’s not a promotion or an increase or anything like that. I just finished a 3D-animated video that explains how a certain machine works. I can’t tell you the details involving it but there’s a lot of things I can tell you about how it was like working on it for more than half a year. Yep, it’s one of the longest project I’ve ever had in my career.

At first, I was genuinely excited. I’ve had 3D projects before and they’ve all been fun and fulfilling. So at the beginning of August 2017, I was happily making assets and trying out different lights for the scene. There were revisions regarding the placements and the models but it was okay. It was part of my job. Until halfway through the animation process and the revisions started to go on a different path. It turns out that I failed to really grasp what my client envisioned. The final output was starting to get blurry. And the deadline was getting further and further away from what we had all expected. What everyone had expected of me.

Christmas and New Year came and went, I was still fixing a lot of things. I welcomed 2018 with more frustrations. I wasn’t able to help in other projects because I was stuck with this one. It wasn’t even supposed to be difficult. When you look at it in an animator’s point of view, it’s really just a simple 1-minute clip. The characters were simple stick figures, the cameras were placed in just one angle and the simulations were minimal. It wasn’t supposed to take this long.

That was when I started doubting myself. Maybe I wasn’t really that good. I never dreamed of becoming the best. But I sure as hell never wanted to be the worst. But that’s what it felt like. It felt like I failed my client, my boss and myself. Even if they were nice and patient enough to point out the stuff that needed fixing, there were voices in my head that weighed me down. Why do I keep making mistakes? Why do I miss the important details? Why am I taking so slow? And I started to compare myself to everyone else as they finish one project after another. Sure, it’s really about the quality over quantity but holy shit every output they produce were so good that I cannot even look at my own work anymore. And I started to think about how we all started the same way and how much everyone else has achieved and learned. What did I learn from the past year? And I started to hate myself.

Every revision became an ordeal. Every comment, no matter how nicely delivered, gave reasons for the voices in my head to start whispering awful stuff. Everyday, I carry this weight as heavy as the machines this project was about. I lost the passion for it and the drive to help my client. I was making the revisions with the mindset of wanting to finish it. Not wanting to create a fulfilling output. As much as I hated to admit it, I stopped caring.

And that’s when I started to see a light at end of the tunnel. It was just a tiny speck but I can feel it was out there. You know how when you’ve been on a really long trip on a bus or a car and you suddenly feel that you’re almost at your destination? And there’s this excitement in the air and people start to sit up straight. And they crane their necks and they press their noses on the windows. It was as if the energy came back to the same level it was at the start of the journey.

It was on that penultimate moment that I started to pick myself up and the voices started to fade. The excitement I felt was back as if the whole revisions and frustrations never happened. I got focused on fixing it and I was even making extra effort in making it better. Of course there were still a few mishaps along the way, but it didn’t bother me anymore. because I knew where the project was going.

And I did it.

The moment my boss gave the thumbs-up for the final render, I LITERALLY dropped and rolled on the floor because the euphoric feeling was too much for me to contain. Of course, I didn’t actually do it in front of him, I still had to go back to my seat and stuff.

And that was it. It was a roller-coaster of emotions before I got here. And I am left with nothing but feeling of gratitude for the whole experience. And I’m looking forward to more projects. Even the dreadful emotions that come along with it.

Art Journal #9: She Don’t Give A

03-13

I’ve been trying out characters with outlines. I realized I liked drawing people a lot. And most of them are drawn from waist up. Now I need to practice full body poses. This is supposed to be my version of Dua Lipa during her BBC Radio 1 performance. She’s such a gem.

Anyway I’ve done this like weeks ago and I am only posting it now because busy busy busy. Maybe I’d talk about it sometime.

Art Journal #8: Sky

03-11

My first piece this month. Man, I’m been really busy last February. But here we are. I recycled my old sketches again and in this one, I tried this technique called Chromatic Aberration. It’s not as fancy as it sounds, it just means that you move the channels a little bit so it creates this really cool, distorted look. Anyway, it’s a quick art. I’ll come back for more.

Art Journal #7: Lines and Guys

02-25a

I recreated another work. In this piece, I tried using lines. I wanted to achieve a comic-style line art. It was a great idea but I realized the problem I had here is that I used only one kind of thickness. I watched a few tutorials about this and found out that I have to use a variety of thickness in my lines if I wanted to emphasize. This looks a bit…generic and it was as if the lines are just there. There is no depth and there is no life.

Gotta go and fix stuff! See ya!