Saturday, October 28, 2006

Flash 8 Tip: Why Can't I Erase Anything?!?!

This will happen sometimes in Flash 8: you're puttering along, drawing, and you want to erase something. So you select the eraser, and, lo and behold, you're not erasing squat! The first possible solution, which is available in Flash 8's Help, is that your eraser settings are off. In that case, go to the tool bar, and find the little "eraser mode options" icon (make sure the eraser tool is selected first, or that icon will not appear - even if threats are offered), which is a light blue circle with a darker blue rim, and adjust it appropriately. (If you hold down on it a menu will come up and you can erase fills, erase lines, erase normally, etcetera). If the eraser still doesn't work, it's because you've stumbled onto a little problem that Flash 8's help section doesn't cover - namely, you've just made a symbol and you didn't know it. This primarily happens when you're working inside of a symbol already, don't ask me why. Simply select the offending section that refuses to be erased (with your cursor tool), go into Modify, and highlight Break Apart. Now you can erase like the little mistake monkey that you are!

Personal Progress On:
Novel: Some Notes Completed, 5 Pages Out of Sequence
8 Minute Film: Zip
TV Series: More Healthy Brainstorming Accomplished
My Flu: Down to an Unhealthy Rattle, Unpleasantly Sore Eyes, Hot Flashes (I feel menopause's sweet succor already!)

Now go here and love the sweet fan video therein. It's the best damn fan Flash flick I've ever laid eyes on!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sketch of the Week

O.K., so it's really an older sketch of the week, but hey, it's been a busy week and I'm sick. (Flu makes me dizzy and gross-feeling - yay!)

Again, as always, all rights retained by me, Michelle Lopes

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Does An Animator Look Like?

You always wanted to know the answer to this question, and here's the general answer: silly. Animators (as a cruel generalization) tend to be happy, silly people. They wear comfortable clothing and have sappy expressions on their faces when they watch cartoons. They are prone to giggle a lot, and make stupid jokes. Even the hardcore experimental animators are complete ninnies. The following pics are (extremely personal) examples of an animator...mainly because they are pictures of me. They are not all terribly amusing, but at least I was having fun when they were taken. Plus, I threw my cat Thursby in there, even though he's not an animator, because he's pretty sappy himself.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lemony Snicket Speaks!

If you're a huge fan of the Lemony Snicket series (a.k.a. A Series of Unfortunate Events), and you were a huge dork like me and bought the final book when it came out two weeks ago (aptly titled The End - quite possibly now one of my favourite book titles of all time), then you'll want to hear Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler's dulcet tones pleading for you to stop reading in this sweet lil' audio clip. Yes, it was for a promotional campaign, but who cares! It's Lemony Snicket!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Did I Mention I Was Busy?

On Tuesday I ended up not finishing my Flash assignment entirely, and completed only two out of the three symbols required - ugh. Part of the problem was that I couldn't figure out a way to duplicate a symbol, and then edit only the new, duplicated version without effecting the original - without dragging the duped symbol into a new Flash document. The other part is that I'm just not a fast animator. My instructor, however, was very forgiving; she said that she wouldn't have known I hadn't done all the required work if I hadn't told her, because my in between states were so long...oh well.

This made me laugh last night. There's more great stuff at, too - not everything is awesome, but the rarities are more than enough to compensate. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flash 8 Tip: Bringing in Videos and Images

These past two weeks have been absolutely chaotic as I try to adjust to my new school/internship/excersize fiend lifestyle. My Flash class has proven to be both really inspirational and intense. Here's what I learned this Tuesday: Did you know that in Flash 8 you can import movies and photographs relatively easily? Just go to File/Import/Import to Library and follow the instructions as the menus pop up. However, not all settings will provide optimal picture quality - you have to play around with them. Remember not to compress your files before you bring them in, because Flash will end up compressing them later anyway, and if you compress them beforehand the image quality will really degrade quickly! (This doesn't apply to .tif file LZW compression, however). For images, Flash loves a jpeg, and is fickle with other file types. Fun stuff, huh? It really broadens what you can do with the program, however, especially once you realize that you can convert video into a symbol, and alter it just like you can with symbols! I'm so stoked, the text written here can never do enough justice to my stoked state.

Catch y'all later!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sketch of the Week

Whew! This week has been busy!
In honor of Halloween, and because I like to draw creepy things, here's my sketch of the week.

Again, all copyright rights retained by me, Michelle Lopes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back to School: Flash 8 and Silent Film Seminar

The school year at UCLA has started, and I'm enrolled in a Flash Animation course and a Silent Film Seminar - both of which promise to be both interesting and challenging, with the Flash course probably superceding Silent Film in the challenging department. My teachers are excellent, and include Amy Winfrey and Josh Morgan; the former covering the animation/interface part of Flash and the latter, coding. Because my classes promise to be so intense, I've had to cut back my internship to one solitary day a week, but thankfully they were understanding at the office.

This is going to probably be my last year of school (unless I go in for a PhD, which my Dad keeps on encouraging me to do - but what does a doctorate in animation do? Look pedantic at screenings of new Disney films? I could break out the pipe and smoking jacket, though...tempting), so I'm a little nostalgic. Add to that the fact that I watched Kicking and Screaming last night, I'm filled with a mix of anticipation, sentiment, and (slight) anxiety. Filmmaking is tough - add to that the immensity of the Hollywood film system, and all its sexy bureacracies, and you have a vast world where a lot of people don't succeed in fulfilling their dreams ("fulfilling your dreams" always sounds a little cheesy to me, but it's apt).

But I'm going to do it - I only get the jitters every now and then. Sometimes I think it might be nicer not to have a lot of clearly defined goals: when you succeed it's a pleasant surprise instead of a source of worry. However, if I didn't have my goals, I wouldn't be a very happy person. There is nothing I love more than pushing myself hard and having, at the end, the satisfaction of doing what I set out to do.

Right now I'm also writing a novel (by myself), and a TV series (with a good friend). I'll let you know how both progress. One thing's certain, I do enjoy filling my days with projects!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Lazy Sunday Painting

I finally set aside enough time to paint, and I have to admit it felt really, really good. I painted this landscape yesterday using acrylics and a pre-primed canvas. I like painting landscapes or backgrounds because they become fragments of worlds I'd like to explore in my daydreams (or writing). Technically, I'm not very realistic, but my stylization suits me fine. What's nice about painting, too, is that you have a physical product in your hands when you're done - something you can touch and smell and watch as the light reacts with it - which is a far cry from the digital work I've been doing lately for school and for '9.'

On the lighting for the photograph of this painting - it blows out in some patches (along the weave of the canvas fabric), but it's a pretty decent photo overall, nice and steady - thanks to Bri for photographing it for me!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

San Francisco and Bookbinding Pics

As promised, here are pics of my first attempt at bookbinding - a perfect bound journal with fabric cover, and accented endpaper ( I used ex-props from my last stop motion animated short - namely moss and fabric leaves).

And this is me at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, kneeling by the Frances E. Willard plaque. It was a beautiful, cold day, and the museum had some really outstanding pieces - I loved it.