Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Animation Isolation: The Home Stretch

Well, that went by fast and was chronicled poorly. I still need to work on channeling my Facebook ramblings into a proper blog format. I think that's better actually. Facebook is such a disposable medium for thoughts and moments.

So, it's the end of August, and by the original plan, I'd be on a train back to Amsterdam today. In my new, adjusted plan, I have the Cologne apartment for at least two more weeks and am gonna make some more stuff before I put together my shiny, new reel.

What I've accomplished so far:
-10 second "swing animation"
-Spent 3-4 days on "The Head" animation piece which is 35+ seconds long before I decided it would take too long and wasn't good game reel material. I might come back to this later, for a film/acting oriented reel.
-30 second acting piece "The Suitcase"
(Both of these will get at least one more pass but I'm fairly happy with them)
-Learned advanced facial rigging in Max; half-set up my TF2 Demo Girl character's face before deciding to shelf it until the reel is done; I'm not trying to get a job as a rigger
-Took a week off of any animation responsibilities to get smashed nightly with some of my favorite people from Remedy, Recoil and Guerrilla during GDC and Gamescom.
-Touch ups to one of the Monday Night Combat animations of the mascot character. I was hoping to touch up some of the other work I did at Uber but it depended on facial animation and I don't have the necessary textures.
-Assembled a massive "mega reel" of my Alan Wake and Monday Night Combat animations. It's 15 minutes long, which I will go through and hack down to the best samples.
-Currently working on a quadruped walk cycle (a panther), which is coming along.
-Next up is horse gallop or run cycle (haven't decided yet).

When the two quadruped cycles are done, I am going to shift into editing mode (next week) and finally get this thing together.

So animation stuff aside...

I've found a correlation between my isolation and my Facebook usage. Which is bad. Starved for social contact, Facebook becomes much more addictive but not really any more beneficial. Real human contact still much preferred. This is something to consider on any future animation isolations. The question is to I want to crank it back and not spend more than two weeks away from the world? Or should I just go somewhere with no net connection and properly lose my mind?

I have gone out a couple times, just on my own. I caught "Inception" at the one "Original Version" theater I've found in Cologne, then hung out with the bar staf of an Irish pub. Then just last Friday, I went to a different pub we frequented with the Guerrilla guys and wound up hanging out with a revolving door of interesting people: discussing the moon landing with an Welshmen who assembled convention booths, hung out with an Australian guy and later, his German girlfriend before meeting a German soldier who wanted to move to the US and join the Marines. The revolving door of people is probably the number one reason why I love to travel and it was nice to get some of that, even when I'm not *technically* on vacation.

Other than that... I've been listening to tons of Americana music since I've been here with heavy emphasis on CCR and the Old 97s. I don't know if that's a phase or grasping for some kind of national identity when deprived of human contact but they're both excellent bands so no excuse is really needed.

I'm doing pushups every day to combat my otherwise sedentary days, sometimes jogging and almost always eating carb-light from the afternoons on as part of a weird, made-up diet of some bullshit I read off the internet. But I like veggies so it's cool, though I'm quite far from my borderline vegetarian phases in California and Finland. My bullshit made-up diet also includes doing the small portions more often routine, which I've been doing pretty much since Seattle. Note to self when I get my home furnishings back from Finland: get rid of my bigass plates from Target. The plates I have here are barely bigger than saucers and I think that's a good thing.

Through the travel tactic of washing only mission critical clothing in sinks (never resorting to turning underwear inside out!) and the judicious use of Febreeze on non-mission critical clothing, I stretched a 2 week supply of socks and underwear to over 3 weeks. Not ideal but since week three included binge drinking and a games convention, smell was not a top priority. Since you can still smoke inside in Cologne bars (a rarity for Europe these days; even for the rest of Germany), you just wind up smelling like cigarette butts anyway.

Maybe that's TMI. But my underwear was always clean!

I've actually never had to travel so far to wash clothes as I did here, when I finally did take my laundry excursion. Laundrymats are sparse in the suburbs so I would up hauling a suitcase full of laundry through downtown Cologne, to what seemed to be laundrymat with a bar attached but what was really just a bar called "laundrymat" (Cafe Waschsalon) without any laundry machines. Thankfully it's close to a real laundrymat and now I'm fresh like the Snuggle bear.

As we turn the corner into September, I have to start thinking about what to do for my next work gig as well as getting back to Finland before the end of the month to say hi, check in and see if anyone needs anything animated. Animation Isolation will be coming to an end around the 14th or more likely, the 21st of September. Then I need to figure out if it's cheaper to get to Helsinki via Cologne or Amsterdam.

I think that when I thought of writing this entry, I had in mind a moral or something. But then my brain just pukes out a bunch of crap, not wrapping up as neatly as an episode of Full House does.

So it won't wrap up that way.

If you've read this far, do me a favor and leave a comment or something. I still have my doubts of the point of blogging in 2010 so it'd be nice to know if anyone is actually reading this shit or if I'm just leaving a bread crumb trail to complicate my future employment.


  1. You know I recently thought about ressurecting my blog just so that I could keep track of my evil plans.... then again it may count as evidence so my evil plans may be best forgotten in that cavernous brain I have. Keep blogging.. I mean why the fuck not?

  2. Yeah, I have that debate sometimes too. But I enjoy the memories and my evillest of evil plans (like the ones about making rocket cars, robbing banks or how I want my brain to be transplanted into Robocop) tend only to come out when I'm drinking.