22 November, 2008

Police Dashboard Cam Captures Meteor

What do you think, is this thing real? Its unfortunate that the footage is very bad, but that's due in part to the lowrez nature of cameras that accompanies law enforcement cars. If this is a real meteor strike, it looks huge and it looks like it touched down before it burned up.

I am inclined to believe that its real because of the nature of the light and because (I think this is funny), it takes place in Edmonton. I think if it were done by a VFX artist, she would've picked LA or someplace more metropolitan. After all, it is more exciting, but then again, that's been done before. The idea that it was captured by police car cam adds to the overall believability. That's one lucky cop car to be in right place at the right time.

What do you think? Before you answer, here is some news footage and different camera angles to help corroborate the event. I haven't found any information about where this thing actually landed. Looks real to me.

14 November, 2008

Benefits of Using the WACOM Tablet

Many people ask me how and why I got started using the WACOM tablet as a design tool and as a creative person, I have to say that its essential and in this post, I'm going to tell you why.

First, its more intuitive than a mouse, the movement is natural, and (for me) it cured my carpal tunnel and various pains I experienced in my hands, which as a creative person, are invaluable. As of writing this post, I still don't have the numbness and pain.

Our hands are like "gold" right? Without them, how can we draw, paint or use the computer, or better yet, design to pay the bills (multiply this by the number of kids you have) and you realize how important your hands are. So, to save our hands, here's my pitch for using the WACOM tablet. It takes time to get used to, but its worth it.

When I graduated with my Graphic Design degree, I got a pretty good design job at a large corporation. We had the best machines, latest software and the best projects. It was a lot of fun and we produced a lot of cool design work. This was both good and bad.

Remember however, when we design on the computer, our hands click the mouse thousands of times a day. Imagine this happening, let's say for three years (this is what happened to me) and after three years of intense design work (and clicking the mouse), I began experiencing a numbing in my right pinky and ring finger. I didn't think anything at first, then the two fingers started to hurt.

I took a Photoshop workshop with the company and I shared with the instructor at the time my problem, and he recommended that I teach myself to use the mouse with my left hand. He said it takes about two weeks, that it was doable and most importantly, it diminishes the wear and tear that was happening to my right hand. So for next week, I literally sat on my right hand while I worked on using the mouse with my left hand. In few short days, I taught myself how to use the mouse with my left hand. This was cool because now I was able to surf the internet and brush my teeth at the same time with my right hand.

Then, (wouldn't you know it) after three years of designing and working in this way, I started experiencing the same numbness and pain in my left hand. Whoa! What the heck is going on here? This took me by surprise and grew concerned because I recognized the "pain". So, I switched back to using the mouse with my right hand.

It took about three months where my right hand began to experience the numbing sensation again. So now, both my hands were experiencing the numbing and slight pain in both pinky and ring fingers. This was bad.

At the company I worked at, they had WACOM tablets available to us for use because many artists used them to draw on the computer. I borrowed one and in only a few days learned how to use. I fell in love with it.

After using it for two days, the pain and numbness went away. The position you sit in when you use it is natural...Your simply holding a stylus which is just like a pencil or pen and instead of clicking (like you do on a mouse), you simply tap the stylus twice, and tap the keyboard to activate various hotkey functions with your other hand. Once I got this down (which took about a week), not only was I working faster, but I was able to be creative without having to worry about what was happening to my hands.

Once in a while, WACOM tablets go on sale at your nearest computer store. The one I use is this one: Wacom Bamboo. You don't need a big one, I have the 6x8 and it works fine. If you are a digital creative, you should invest in one, especially if your hands begin to experience numbing or pain. These days, the tablets have a place where you can clip your stylus so you don't lose it (finally), and also the tablets are now wireless.

I teach a digital painting class where students use the WACOM tablet for the first time. It takes a while to get used to, but once they get a handle on the hand eye coordination required to use it, they love it. The biggest thing I tell them, is that when they first learn to draw, they use a pencil and not a mouse. When you draw on the computer, using a WACOM tablet emulates this natural position, and therefore, can create better work.

I hope this helps you out, if you experienced something similar, let me know. I'd like to hear from you. One of these days, I'll have to get my hands on one of these cool Cintiqs featured below. Only a few of my students roll with them, as the price for them is still pretty steep, but it is sooooo very cool. I'll put this on my wishlist for Santa :-) - Keep drawing and have fun!


10 November, 2008

"60 fps": Is Officially Entered in Aniboom's 2008 Animation Competition

Watch more cool animation and creative cartoons at aniBoom

Hey Ya'll! Randolf Dimalanta here... "60 fps", the animation I completed in the Summer of 2008 to complete my MFA in Computer Animation degree has just been entered in Aniboom's 2008 Animation Competition. Many people contributed to its completion and had been in the works for over 9 months.

On Aniboom, the winner of the competition is decided by popularity, and so the more people view it, the better it will do in the competition. Thanks to all of you who have supported the animation. You are awesome!

If you have never checked out the Aniboom site, its actually quite nice. Its one of the very few places online that features cool animations from independent creators like us. They have great competitions and best of all, they have industry leading judges that review the work being submitted.

The part I like best (separate from any competition), is that the animations are viewed by people who LOVE animations...our people. Its a cool animation community and its all good. So check it out here and if you have a cool animation, be sure to enter it in their competitions before the deadline, you may win your stake of $50,000. These days, the money probably will go to gas cards.

Fire it Up!


05 November, 2008

Video CoPilot : Visual FX Video Tutorials

If you are an animation / game art / visual effects artist / student, you need to check this site now. You won't regret it. I can't say enough about it. You need to check it to get better.

Videocopilot.net is a visual effects website that uses video tutorials to help people learn Adobe After Effects. The tutorials are hosted by VFX artist Andrew Kramer who works professionally in the industry. The video tutorials are fast, clear, informative and surprisingly entertaining.

As an animation instructor, After Effects should be one of the weapons in your creative arsenal, as its linked to what we do on a regular basis (by this, I mean how your work is presented). More importantly, the way our typography is used to present our demo reels is sometimes just as important as the animation work itself. After Effects is definitely one of the best at animating text in interesting ways, and since we are judged on this, we have to get better at it. As animation students, we don't get enough After Effects time.

So, be sure you check out the Videocopilots.net site, browse their tutorials and help them out by purchasing their DVD's for reference, especially if you have never been in After Effects before, I'll guarantee you'll learn a thing or two just by browsing their site. Some advice for you....once you watch a tutorial, see if you can make something that you would think is totally fun, and that will be used for your demo reel. I'll bet that this will be one of the "standout" pieces in your portfolio.

Hey Andrew Kramer, keep up the great work and thanks for putting up such helpful information.

03 November, 2008

"Get Out and Vote Ya'll" : Frankenstein for President 2008

In the "spirit" of this election year (and Halloween), I thought it would be appropriate to put these two clips up. They're pretty funny. So let your voice be heard, get out and vote! Go Frankenstein!

I remember when Jibjab first came out, their first animations poked fun at the Bush and Kerry elections. They were so entertaining and its nice to see them back and stronger than ever in this year's political races. The short little animation below features Barack Obama, John McCain and Sarah Palin as zombies. What more could you ask for? Whatever are we gonna do when this election ends - I'm sure they'll be another person to make fun of? . . .

Have fun, enjoy and remember to get out and vote!