September 20, 2015

Finishing my new film, "Papa Pasquale".

Picture-lock. Final mix. Final outputs. After three months of 90 hour weeks, it's time to push this baby out.

"Papa Pasquale" is an animated short about a family of immigrants to Canada from Italy, set in the 1950's. The film will have a private screening gala celebration in Toronto on September 24th (Next week!). There will be some members of the Italian community, some press, and I heard there will also be a few Canadian dignitaries present. I'll be a guest there, but the focus will not be on me; it will be on this incredible family, the subject of the film. Still, I will really enjoy watching their reactions, and meeting them for the first time.

It's a timely release, as we are now in an election in Canada - a country made up of First Nations and immigrants from all over the world - immigration being quite a topical issue at the moment. 


September 9, 2015

Animating a maple seedling.

Hurtling towards the deadline in two weeks, but I want to share my process for animating a falling maple seed in Adobe Flash.

There are different kinds of animation to consider in the art form: acting, action, and motion. Usually we spring from what we know, the laws of physics, gravity and so on - animators can be true to reality, or really move away from it. In this case, I didn't want to go too far, but I also didn't want it to be stiff or obviously roto-scoped (traced from live-action). And of course, it has to fit with my signature style, which is visually simple. And supposedly effortless. Haw haw haw.

Although the animation plays along the timeline, I stacked the frames here and left the pretty onion skins so you can see how I mapped it out. Using two ellipses as path-of-action guide, I created a single drawing of a maple seed and deformed it in a series of key frames.  This spinning loop sits in a dedicated symbol, which I then animated fluttering downward on the main timeline.

August 7, 2015

Save as.

WARNING: Animator speak.

Two nights ago I had an animation disaster: while working in Flash CS5 on a commissioned film, the file suddenly corrupted. It refused to revert so I forced close and reopened it. When I checked it there was a ton of missing body parts and elements, every symbol had doubled its number of layers and extended one layer for twice as many frames. FREAKY.

Poor Nonna lost her knickers.

To make matters worse, the doubling was causing the file to choke making it super difficult to do anything. I’m talking "click… (wait 5 seconds) …object selected". And then it would freeze, "file not responding". Ugh.

I thought I was going to puke.


To those of you who said “don’t you back up?” Of course I fucking back up, ffs. I’m not an idiot, geez. Mostly. I save every few seconds, and there's a raid automagically backing everything up in case one of my drives dies. But I hadn't actually saved as in a while...the earlier version from a few days before proved less than useful because I just work so dang fast yawl. Goddammit

To the three animators who reached out to me privately to offer assistance with the winrar extension fix, thank-you so much. Kiyoshi, Antonio, Jason, it really meant a lot to me that you speak the same language as me. That fix didn’t work in this particular case though.

So I did what I always do in times of great need: I texted The Huz (blissfully away camping in the Tadoussac) and I cried. He cooly reminded me that I could always decompile the latest swf render. Which I had backed up into my approvals folder. HURRAH for not being completely stupid!

If you work in Flash you probably already know about Sothink Decompiler. It basically takes your swf render and backwards-engineers it to give you a “functional” Flash file. And by “functional” I mean scrambled beyond recognition. I used it and all the symbol names in the library have been obliterated and replaced by ‘shapes’ in a million layers on the main timeline. What was once named “donkey” is now exploded into shapes 253, 254, and 255. And there are hundreds and hundreds of shapes! 

But fear not. I am brave.

Delving into my corrupted Flash file I began deleting the doubled layers. I started with the cycles that were re-used in multiple characters, like the dancing legs, running legs and so on. When the file began behaving a little better, I systematically checked for missing body parts, sourced the correct shape in the decompiled Flash file, and copy pasted it into the correct symbol in the corrupted file.


I just finished all that and restored my file completely. It took two days. The moral of the story is to 'save as' every couple of hours. Save as, motherfuckers! It could save your ass. Hee haw.

July 17, 2015

Super hero portraits.

Here's some recent commissions, drawing real people as superheroes. Most of the work is in studying photos of the person and getting a feel for who they are.

Turning public speaker Anna Apoian into a super hero.

The 15 year old Trend-Blazer - her superpower is trendsetting in fashion and makeup.

The 11 year old Tree-Rider - her superpower is jungle parkour.

The 2 year old Key- Surfer - her superpower is piano mastery.

I enjoyed drawing these. My rates are here.

June 27, 2015

Love is love.

I know there is so much more work to be done, but I do feel a lot more hopeful right now. 

Even though I'm Canadian, the SCOTUS decision to legalize same sex marriage in all fifty states has buoyed my spirits. Because people are people everywhere. And it's all love, when you open your heart.

Comments are here.

June 21, 2015

Another Blogiversary.

WARNING: Salty language.

Tumbleweeds are blowing through my blog.

Comments seem to have dwindled to nothing. And yet, there are comments; they're just not here anymore. They're lightly sprinkled across Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Ello. I sometimes wish I could scrape my social media platforms and bring the comments all back here to keep forever! Proof of your appreciation of my work all in one place!

Whoever invents such a magical plugin will be forever revered.

Is blogging dead? One can't really entertain such thoughts without circling back to why we blog. Why we make art. I fucking hate it when people say to me, "but, how do you make money doing a blog?" Fuck off asshole. I don't make money. I draw because I CAN'T HELP IT. Yeah, I'm poor. So what.

I always did fall through the cracks when it came to what kind of a blog this is. I mean, it's not like you could say "this here is a blog about fashion malfunctions" or "this blog is all about awkward recipes" or "the horrors of family life" or "dangerous political satire" or "yawn-worthy content marketing" or even about "preposterous sex positions"...I can't check just one box yawl.

Instead you get the eclectic mix that is me. And you get it in drawings and animation. But that lack of a niche means I have no dedicated audience. You guys are all over the map. And just as I discovered that I don't really fit in the animation world, after half a decade of blogging conferences, I now see that I don't really fit in the bloggers world either.

Fuck you tumbleweed.

But it matters not. Five years and thousands of (totally free) drawings later, The Animated Woman is still around, if somewhat sporadically of late. So Happy Blogiversary motherfuckers. I love you all.

Comments are here.

April 29, 2015

Turning invisible.

When there's a death, there follows an immediate cluster of support and love.

This cluster begins to fall away a few weeks after the death; people are busy, they have their own lives, money worries and health issues to think about. The epicenter of grief puts on a brave face, a mask for the most part.

Months pass and life goes on.

Except for the crumbling inside. The missing. The opening your Skype and seeing their familiar face in your contacts, as if you might be able to reach them wherever they are in the beyond.

It's not the easy choice to remain close to the epicenter. We must allow our lives to fall away - work, play, Internet - so that we may hover nearby, and silently bolster. And that's why you haven't seen much of me lately. I'm turning invisible.

But I'll be back.

Comments are here.