Life of a Stick


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  • Fall 2009 Grades

    My grades were actually better this semester than I expected.

    In short:
    ART401 Concept Art: C+
    ART450 Portfolio: A
    FLM250 Post-Production: A-
    FLM275 Music and Sound: A
    INT390 Internship: Pass

    And the long of each class:
    ART401 – Concept Art
    Matthew Dudley was a bit harsh at first. He wanted something specific from our work, but (like me) has a problem communicating sometimes. So he was frustrated for the first few weeks — and so were we — until he figured out how to get his points across.

    He knew the subject — he’s a lead/senior character artists at Gas Powered Games. Like I’ve mentioned to a number of people before, skill at doing something and skill at teaching something are two separate skills. He picked it up quickly as the class progressed.

    Not sure if that was his first time teaching the class or not. He might have been a new hire at DigiPen. It seemed like he was new to it, though. He learned real fast if it was, though. If he keeps teaching it, in three or four years he’ll really learn the ins and outs about how to teach people effectively.

    There were a few people in the crowd, like Sarah Markley, who are looking to get into concept art after graduation. The class had a few frustrations for them, like switching assignments with someone else in the class and finishing what they started. But that’s how it sometimes works in the industry.

    ART450 – Portfolio
    Monte Michaelis is a pleasure to learn from, and is just a fun guy to have around in general. He recently got hired at Popcap and helps them with their hiring process now.

    There is no doubt this man knows his stuff. Kamal Siegel, founder of Digital Double, was teaching the other sessions of the class, and they combined their knowledge and created the perfect class.

    Besides learning about and creating the foundation of resources that will follow me through the rest of my professional career (portfolio, business cards, resume, demo reel, and everything about how to find a job) I had a lot of fun, and really looked forward to his classes.

    Sadly, all good things come to an end. And Portfolio’s end included bacon maple bars. Epic to the finish.

    FLM250 – Post-Production
    Post-production is what you do after a film is created or rendered. All those neat special effects, like the lightsabers? They’re added in post-production.

    The class was specifically an
    Riley Prigg taught this class. And while he really knew his stuff, After Effects is really one of those programs where the more you know how to do, the more you realize you don’t know. The amount of combinations and uses for effects are ridiculous.

    The class was fun, and a lot of the students created some really neat projects.

    FLM275 – Music and Sound
    Lawrence Schwedler is one of my heroes. If it wasn’t for visual art, I’d probably be studying music. The man is audio director for Nintendo Software Technology.

    There’s the saying: those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. Well, there’s a third category, one I try to fall into myself. Those that are able to do so well, and have the knowledge so built into their lives, that they teach people by reflex, and sometimes by accident. Lawrence is the kind of guy who can write a paper and cite himself as the reference used.

    The class was a joy to participate in. It was like a DigiPen ART101 Lite, except for music. He taught principles, the foundational knowledge, that are useful no matter what you’re doing with music and sound.

    INT390 – Internship
    This really deserves its own entry. I’ll get around to it some day.


  • DigiPen Spring 2007 Schedule

    Here is the schedule I signed up for. It’s possible that a class or two may be shifted or changed slightly, but this is probably it.

      Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
    08:00 AM          
    08:30 AM          
    09:00 PM         ART 225
    09:30 PM CG 275   CG 275    
    10:00 PM          
    10:30 PM          
    11:00 PM          
    11:30 PM          
    12:00 PM     ART 251    
    12:30 PM          
    01:00 PM          
    01:30 PM          
    02:00 PM         PRJ 251
    02:30 PM          
    03:00 PM PRJ 251        
    03:30 PM          
    04:00 PM   CG 251      
    04:30 PM          
    05:00 PM          
    05:30 PM          
    06:00 PM          
    06:30 PM          
    07:00 PM          
    07:30 PM          

    And what the cryptic class names mean, though my 2006-2007 course catalog isn’t technically accurate anymore:

    ART 225 – 3D Design and Sculpture
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: ART201 or ART155
    Instructor: Becker
    Description: This course introduces students to the principles of 3D design using both traditional and digital tools. Students will become acquainted with additive, subtractive, and cast sculpture. They will consider the basic concepts of architectural space, interior design, landscape design, surface interplay with light, lofted forms, and skinning systems. The course will emphasize using modern polymer clays and building an animation maquette.

    Notes: There are rumors that Rossano will be teaching this class, since sculpture is her specialty. But there are always those rumors, and it never happens.

    ART 251 – Character Design
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: ART201
    Instructor: Kmiec
    Description: Students will leverage their drawing and anatomy knowledge to the creation of animation characters. This course introduces student to the traditions of character design and the basic structural strategies for creating animation characters. Students will explore simplification gradients relative to human, animal, and inanimate object-based characters. They will consider issues of costume, personality, and story interaction. The course will emphasize professional applications, techniques, and standards of quality. The work completed in this course will serve as pre-production design for PRJ 300, PRJ 350, or ANI 300.

    CG 251 – 2D Vector Graphics and Animation
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: CG201
    Instructor: TBA
    Description: This course examines the principles and practices of 2D vector graphics and animation. It will introduce students to industrystandard software, output options, and production strategies for using vector graphics in both graphic design and animation. The course will give special consideration to critical thinking and refinement strategies when modifying vector images. Students will examine methods of using vector-based tools for creating web and broadcast animation, and the course concludes with a series of applied problems in 2D vector animation.

    Notes: This is basically a Flash class, and the old Flash instructor, who was really good, should be returning to teach this.

    CG 275 – 3D Character Animation
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: CG105 or CG225
    Instructor: Crespi
    Description: Students will continue to explore and exercise the concepts and techniques of 3D animation through a series of assignments applied to characters. Exercises in this course will be considerably more demanding than those completed in CG 125 as they will be longer and require more refinement, subtlety, and creativity. The course will emphasize character development – the expression of personality, mood, thought, and attitude through motion and posing. It will also give special consideration to proper model rigging.

    PRJ 251 – 2D Vector Animation Production
    Credits: 5
    Prerequisites: PRJ201
    Instructor: Jazno
    Description: Students will build upon the foundations of their first two years by exploring a 2D vector- based animation production. 2D vector animations are found throughout the Internet, video game, educational software, and broadcast entertainment industries. Students will apply the production pipeline to a sustained project spanning an entire semester. The course will give special consideration to concepts in research, project development, workflow projection, scheduling, time management, administrative documentation, and quality control. Additionally, it will emphasize appropriate work habits.

    Notes: PRJ201 wasn’t quite what they said it would be, but the description of this class sounds closer to what’s planned.


  • DigiPen Fall 2007 Schedule (And Summer 2007)

    For the summer, I’m only taking one class: Sequential Art, ART 234. Fridays, 1-4pm. Don’t really think we need a visual schedule for that.

    This is my planned schedule for next Fall:

      Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
    09:00 AM          
    09:30 PM   CG 201   CG 201  
    10:00 PM          
    10:30 PM          
    11:00 PM BIO 200   CG 225   CG 225
    11:30 PM          
    12:00 PM          
    12:30 PM          
    01:00 PM          
    01:30 PM          
    02:00 PM          
    02:30 PM         PRJ 201
    03:00 PM   ART 201      
    03:30 PM          
    04:00 PM          
    04:30 PM          
    05:00 PM     PRJ 201    
    05:30 PM          
    06:00 PM          
    06:30 PM          
    07:00 PM          
    07:30 PM          
    08:00 PM          

    And here are what the classes actually are:

    ART 201 – Advanced Life Drawing
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: ART 125, ART 151
    Instructor: Robert Kmiec
    Description: This course builds upon the anatomy and drawing courses students have already taken. Students will continue to improve their ability to capture kinetics in humans and animals. By engaging in a series of exercises designed to enhance their visual memory, students will build the foundation for drawing accurate figures from their imagination. They will also explore putting the figure into an environment, figurative composition, and introductory sequential figurative composition.

    BIO 200 – Animal Muscular, Skeletal, and Kinetic Anatomy
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisite: BIO 150
    Instructor: Dr. Chuck Wood
    Description: This course introduces the major skeletal and muscular structures of animals. Students will extrapolate their knowledge of the human form to the structure and form of a variety of animal types, specifically focusing upon the impact of locomotion and feeding strategies upon form. Additionally, students will consider terminology, structural arrangement, and kinetic function. The course also considers standard locomotion cycles and the relationship between humans and various animals. It will give special emphasis to adapting this knowledge to the needs of artists and animators.

    CG 201 – 2D Raster Graphics and Animation
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: ANI 151, ART 101, ART 125
    Instructor: Robert Kmiec
    Description: This course introduces students to the industry-standard software and practices of raster graphics and animation. The course begins with basic information such as interface organization strategies, system components, bit depth, resolution, memory management, and output strategies. Then it explores techniques and critical thinking skills for digital painting, scanning, still compositing, and texture creation. Additionally, it looks at basic interface customization options and strategies in 2D raster graphics.

    CG 225 – Introduction to 3D Animation
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: ANI 151, ART 101, ART 125
    Instructor: Adam Crespi
    Description: This course introduces students to the industry-standard software and practices of 3D animation. The course begins with basic information such as interface organization strategies, equipment options, and production elements. Then it introduces techniques and critical thinking skills for texture mapping, modeling, rigging, lighting, cameras, and animation. Additionally, it looks at basic interface customization options and strategies in 3D graphics, culminating in a series of applied problems in 3D production techniques.

    PRJ 201 – 2D Sprite Animation Production
    Credits: 5
    Prerequisites: ANI 151, ART 125
    Concurrent Courses: ART 201, BIO 200, CG 201, CG 225
    Instructor: TBA
    Description: PRJ 201 introduces students to the basic concepts of the production process utilizing smallscale applied problems in 2D sprite animation. These digital artists heavily employ sprite animations in hand-held devices such as watches, cell phones, PDA’s, and hand-held game platforms. Sprite animations are also a cornerstone of Internet graphics and fundamental to animated texture maps. Their restrictive nature makes them excellent teaching platforms because they cannot be readily solved through brute force. Digital artists must account for each pixel and thoroughly plan for issues such as color management and movement. Students must successfully navigate the production pipeline in order to achieve professional results and hone their professional critical thinking skills.

    Only five classes! 17 credits! This is gonna be a piece of cake.


  • DigiPen Spring 2007 Grades

    Edit: I AM AWESOME!

    Got three in so far. I’ll update this as I get the rest.

    Animation 125 – Acting for Animation – B+
    Animation 151 – Advanced Animation – B
    Art 125 – Tone, Color and Composition – B
    Art 151 – Basic Life Drawing – B-
    Bio 150 – Human Anatomy – A
    Film 151 – Film Analysis – B

    ANI 151, ART 125, and BIO 150 don’t have grades posted yet. I expect to get a B, C, and A in them, respectively.

    My current GPA is 3.06 3.13 (down up from 3.09). If I get the grades I expect, it should shift a little further towards 3.0.

    I passed my Freshman year!


  • DigiPen Fall 2006 Grades

    Edit: Yay, I got all my grades!

    Due to the power outage, getting my grades has been delayed. I was supposed to have all of the grades by midnight of December 20th, but at that point I only had two. I recently got two more, which leaves me bald of two classes still. Here’s my grades so far:

    Animation 101 – Intro to Animaton – B
    Film 115 – Film History – B
    Art 115 – Art History – B
    English 116 – Storytelling – B
    Art 101 – The Language of Drawing – B+
    Biology 100 – Visual Perceptions – B+

    So far I’ve got a rather solid B (3.0) average. I really don’t know what I’m going to get in Bio or Art 101. But if I had to guess… I’d say a B in both.

    And with my last two B+s, I’ve now got a 3.09 GPA.


  • Happy Birthday!

    8:25AM  up 365 days, 10:47, 6 users,
    load averages: 0.07, 0.04, 0.01

    My webserver’s uptime is one year! Happy birthday, Goliath! Yay!


  • Mad Statistical Rants

    My friend at Mad Rants (that’s his blog, or whatever the technical term is) likes to post the stats of search terms that bring people to his website. He gets some really interesting ones, but mine have always been boring. Finally, however, I’ve gotten some interesting ones! So I’d like to post some of them.

    Top search terms this month were:

    • Morrowind Comic

    - By far my most popular attraction.

    • Morrowind Comics

    – Top two slots! It’s like they bribed the judges!

    • Inking tutorial

    – Would you believe I actually forgot I’d made one?

    Normal search terms:

    • making a webcomic

    - I sure am!

    • trivium comic

    - At least some people have heard of it!

    • skaarj art

    - Original purpose of the site, yes. I’ll get there some day.

    • stick peoples drawings

    - Been meaning to make more of these.

    • how to get more readers webcomic

    - Guest comics for popular webcomics. Just make sure the genre matches.

    Odd search terms:

    • boothbabe

    - What? Where?

    • morrowind shirtless one

    - Who, me?

    • stickman pounding on a computer

    - I do not!

    • burning a laserdisk

    - Did they ever release laserdisc burners publically?



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