Monday, December 10, 2012

The Bookmarks Bar : Day Three

Sorry that I didn't post this weekend. I got distracted with homework and this horrible, horrible website. Although despite the fact that it's horrible, it's gotten me thinking about doing storyboarding dissections with video and/or streaming animation and pulling apart some of the acting/timing, but we'll see what happens. I'm fairly certain that Twitch doesn't allow you to stream anything other than games, but it's definitely gotten me thinking about how I can use that kind of format to my advantage. Apparently there's an audience for people watching other people mindlessly playing video games (...hey, sorry, but it's true!), but it'll be a hard sell to get people to discuss story and composition and animation. We can only try and find out.

Anyway, let's make this installment of my bookmarks bar short and sweet.

Hark! A Vagrant!

No doubt that if you've been on the internet for a while, you've come across some of Kate Beaton's historical comics. There's really not much to say about it otherwise except that she's a fantastic illustrator with a sharp sense of humor.


I keep forgetting that I want to submit stuff to Veer. It's been tough to juggle doing graphic design and illustration (I'm doing more graphic design even though animation and illustration is what I studied and what I'd rather be doing, oy), but I think I'm going to go ahead and submit some stuff later for their site. You can get all sorts of illustrations for projects on this website, and it serves as a great source of artistic inspiration as well.


I clearly haven't been on Digg in the longest time, because I had to double check that I was on the right website when I clicked the link in my bar. Their layout's changed drastically, but they're still a great source for finding what's popular on the internet.

Well, that's three links for now! Three more are on the way for tomorrow. Still have to do the Cinema Paradiso stuff, actually. I'll probably be uploading that later tonight if I'm not distracted by games and/or sleep and/or animation. Speaking of which, my second AM class ends this week, so I'll be posting my progress reel very, very soon to my other blog.

Also! If you're one of the two people who read this blog (or if you're on Facebook and see this link and read this) why not tell more people about Reinventing The Wheel? At least, please spread the word if you've enjoyed this or let me know what you'd like to see in terms of discussing animation or narrative.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Art Game Master List

There'll definitely be some discrepancy between what is an art game and what isn't.  I've chosen games that have had interesting and different game mechanics, stories, and that haven't necessarily been created by a large game developer (some have, though). You could, in theory, say that almost all games could be elevated to the status of art. However, these are mostly games that urge a player to think cognitively, and that don't necessarily require the strength of excellent hand-eye coordination to complete (in summary, mostly narrative based or experimental in gaming mechanics).

If you have suggestions of games to add, please list them in the comments. Thanks, and happy art gaming!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Bookmarks Bar : Day Two

Let's see... today there are a lot of unnecessary links that I don't use anymore. My laundry webpage, CTA trip planner (so I could figure out which buses I needed to take), the take-out service I used to get food from when I was working long nights in the studio, Pandora for when I needed new music to listen to while in the studio, American Airlines so I could schedule plans to fly home (maybe while I was in the studio)... and, of course:

CG Textures

Everyone pretty much knows about this website. I think it's one of the first things that pops up when you actually google for textures to use on projects. It's not so bad, though, although nowadays I have a huge depository of textures from billions of other websites at my disposal. Nevertheless, it's a good starting point.


I think this is just a post talking about SymbolAssist, but it's a bookmark that I still use when I want to use a cute little symbol in my writing. 


Following up from posting about Widen Your World yesterday, here's MouseBits. While I said I like Disney World park history, there are hundreds of other people out there who really love Disney World/Land park history, and this whole website collects torrents of things from the park. Songs, videos, photos, 3D mock-ups of rides, narrations, you name it. Whatever you want, you can download here. I'm sure some of it shouldn't actually be downloaded, but there are a lot of nifty documentaries people have created about old attractions, plus lots of other rare Disney things that you could never find anywhere else.

Tomorrow: day three of my bookmarks bar. Plus! More storyboarding/framing dissections! This time I'm gonna be using Cinema Paradiso and talking about the themes in the movie. After that, I may take the time to post my work from Animation Mentor and do a little bit of studying on that as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Bookmarks Bar : Day One

So I'm been lazy. And complacent. And I haven't been writing about anything that has to do with animation or design or anything. Woe is me. Lackadaisical am I. It's been a mixture of a lack of sleep and a full plate of school projects and work things that have kept me from writing on a regular basis... something that I desperately have to do. I really do have to do it. I have to. Argh.

I figured something that might be interesting for me to do in the meantime to kind of get me off to a running start with writing more often would be to take the time to write about the things that seem important to me. In terms of what I do on the Internet, most of the things that are important to me are stowed away in a special, dare I say revered and holy place, on the bookmarks bar of my browser. least I THINK they're important to me. A quick look to see whether or not they are is probably going to help me figure out just what it is I should focus on, and in the process probably enable the three people who actually ever read this stuff to find some cool new things to bookmark for themselves.

Let's start off at the bottom of my list today.

The first five or so bookmarks are for this blog, LJ, and DA, along with my old school e-mails, which... actually, shouldn't be there anymore. I used to write every single day on LJ, and DA I actually barely ever use, so I think those are going to get deleted once I finish writing this. My old school e-mail login page? Seriously? Why do I even have that on there? I had the link memorized. I haven't used it for years. This just goes to show how many things I actually have on the bar, and at least at ONE time, they were important enough to have on there. Anyway, I digress. Gotta find three things I can actually share.

Widen Your World


This website is great. I don't know about the people who read my stuff, but I for one am a huge fan of Disney World history. This is a great website about the old attractions that used to be at Disney World. I've written about how I like futurism before, and some of these old rides had good examples of the style, especially stuff like Horizons. Look at me, using this technical jargon. "Stuff." I'm incredible.


I'm gonna cry. The only reason I had this up here was because I wanted to go to a conference, and look where I am now: cold, alone, and SIGGRAPHless. We'll have to change this, clearly because this was obviously a very important thing that I wanted to do.


I actually use Pixlr at work for getting screencaps (since I don't want to keep hitting Print Screen all of the time). It used to just be Photoshop for your browser, but now they've changed it up and added some new features and things (along with a lot of terrible Instagram-y photo filters).

That's three for today. If I'm good, you'll be seeing at least three more links tomorrow. If I'm not, see you in 2015!

Friday, June 8, 2012

"I'm gonna wreck it!" More video games as art talk.

...can I just say how incredibly excited I am for this movie?

I just saw the trailer for it about two days ago and suddenly I've been launched into Wreck-It Ralph frenzy. What's really exciting for me is not only the nostalgia factor (seeing Chun-Li and Bowser in a Disney movie of all places was slightly mystifying) but also the animation. One of these days I would LOVE to see a whole movie done in an 8-bit style. I know that all of Wreck-It Ralph won't be that way, and I love how the other video game characters are rendered in 3D, but oh man. The animation looks like it's going to be fantastic all throughout. And the other great thing about this is the fact that perhaps Roger Ebert will rescind his comment on how video games aren't art after this is released. I know that it's not a video game in of itself: this is very clearly a movie about video games, but video games are already based on story and plot and structure, as simple as they sometimes are (in the case of old arcade games). They just have an added level of interactivity. And look at how gorgeous the film looks! The designs are basically lifted from popular video games (Hero's Duty looks almost exactly like Mass Effect or Halo, and Sugar Rush is just Mario Kart with a dessert dumped on top of it) so you can't deny that video games themselves have the same high level of visual mastery and magnificence as a feature film, which is already considered art.

And I know it's not a completely novel story idea. The "what happens in the world of ______" trope has been rehashed to death. But I don't care. Not in the case of Wreck-It Ralph. Anything that combines my two favorite things in the entire world is enough to get me excited.

Problems With Portal 2

This is something I wrote a couple of months ago but never got around to posting. Admittedly it's not the most structured thing in the world, but I figure I'll go ahead and post it anyway since it does have a couple of interesting things in it.

I was thinking about it last night, and I realized what it was that was bothering me about Portal 2.

Like I've said before, Portal is my all time favorite video game. I can go back to it and it still feels just as fresh to me as it did the first time I played. It's got an interesting plot, it's got an incredible soundtrack (some people say it's forgettable, but since it reminds me of things like this, I love it: it adds to the creepy ambiance of the game), and it's got one unforgettable character in GLaDOS, not to mention an interesting choice of a woman as the player's avatar. And that's what I realized about what separates it from Portal 2.

There are no new female characters.

You could make the argument that (spoiler alert!) Caroline, Cave Johnson's assistant, is a new character. But she was created only to replace Cave's male assistant (if you listen to the commentary track inside of the game/play the brand new Testing Initiative DLC), is never actively seen (save for one static image), and is essentially GLaDOS. I started thinking about how awesome it would have been if, instead of Nolan North, Valve had hired a female voice actor to voice the various personality cores and defunct turrets.

Then again, maybe what you could take from it, as this person noted, is the oppression of a female in video games. I know I'm being pretentious and trying to conceptualize it, but when I played Portal, I felt like it was creepy. I felt an overwhelming feeling of being in an environment I was clearly not allowed to be in. And I loved that the lead of the game was a strong woman that I could sympathize (even though she was always trying to kill me). I didn't sympathize at all with anyone (except maybe Cave Johnson, at the end of his lemons speech- his persistence even in the face of failure and Black Mesa for science tugged at my heartstrings). And maybe it's just my GLaDOS-like nature, but I especially did not sympathize with Wheatley. The moment he got crushed in the beginning of the game, I immediately thought, "Oh, thank GOD, I don't have to listen to him anymore." And as funny as they were, in retrospect I didn't like the fat jokes. I didn't like anything that called Chell ugly. In the first game, GLaDOS called the player ugly and stupid not because it would bruise her ego as a woman, but just as a general human being. The game didn't call to attention Chell's femininity, which is what I loved about the first game. The fact that GLaDOS and Chell could fight each other, be passive aggressive without having to mention "you're fat, oh wow, fashion designers call you ugly" was great, and was what made the game even more enjoyable for me, not having to hear the same kinds of taunts that, as a girl, I already have to deal with.

I love that Portal 2 is a different story entirely, but Portal will always come out on top because it didn't rely on spoken narrative to push it along. In the first game, you relied on instinct. You didn't have your Navi-esque Wheatley following you around going, "You have to shut down the neurotoxin generators! You have to think of a way to get past the turret defenses! Ooh! Also! Don't forget to wash your hands! Also, breath in and out, you'll stay alive longer that way! Hi! Hello? Are you listening to me?"

Valve is the one studio that's always creative about the way that it goes about it's games. But from the DOTA 2 previews, the lack of any new female characters in Portal 2 (not to mention Chell getting that glossy photo finish makeover), and now hearing that there's going to be a Portal 3... my stomach is kind of in knots.