Thursday, November 30, 2006


Here's my take on a Biblical meme. Girl + snake = good times! I made this in Photoshop over the summer, tackling the grass brush in particular (forcing it to look, to me, a lot more like grass than it usually does). I'm a little iffy on the anatomy of my subject here (I feel the arms, etcetera, are off), but que sera. Actually, it's probably due time I get my keister into a drawing class. Maybe tomorrow - I'm very out of touch with the whole "drawing from model" thing. Ack.

Well, off to school I go! Why am I even thinking about models? It's FLASH WEBSITE CRUNCH TIME!!! Now I'll go BRUSH MY TEETH and PACK A LUNCH so I can TAKE THE BUS TO SCHOOL!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Free Decent Textures

A large part of my recent internship with 9 involved searching for textures on the internet. Now as I begin crafting my sweet new flash website, I find myself looking for textures yet again. Need some good free textures for your Maya project or lil' somethin'-somethin'? Try But be nice, kids, and don't take more textures than you need. Pay if you can, of course, you richies out there.

Now, back to my searches.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sketch of the Week

I did this in Photoshop today. I've been playing around a lot with brushes and stuff - so here it is. Cheesecake, yum yum! A personal message in a public forum: Hi Eddie! Here's your fish!


Rights retained on all images by the Lopes.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Part 2

Ever since I've been a kid (and my parents split up) I've had two of everything - houses, families, and, of course, holidays. Hope your Thanksgiving has been a good one, mine was, and I'm off to my second one in Las Vegas with my Dad! I'm bringing my laptop in the hopes that I can get some of my Flash website work done. We'll see what happens.

Enjoy this festive greeting from arj and poopy. (Another website introduced to me by Amy Winfrey from her section of the Flash class) Fun, no? Alas, I haven't watched a single football game yet...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My New Website: Sneak Peek

So this is some of my new art for my flash website, which should be up and running within a month or two. I painted this in Photoshop (I yearn for other, fancier painting programs - but they're expensive! Plus, Photoshop is pretty handy overall. It's a decently intuitive program to work with, and the layers make editing stuff - I tend to duplicate layers, then edit one of the duplicates, and turn the layer on and off, seeing whether I like the result - very easy).

The website will be very moody and atmospheric, and be rather like a game, where you can find items to unlock secret levels and animations. Ultimately, it's up to the viewer to discover what the hell happened to this seemingly bucolic town...hint: there's going to be a dead butcher in his own meat counter, and lots of stains scattered about... My portfolio will also be accessible through the site, so that will be fun and convenient.

Also, I figured out my action script problem thanks to the collaborative efforts of Jen and Jackie - fellow classmate and T.A., respectively - thank you! Apparently my biggest problems were this: I was missing a couple of braces, and my code was in the wrong order.

I've been trying to upload some of my favourite sound files through stickam, so that I can post them on my blog, but I keep on getting an internal server error. Boo! My file is the correct size, so what the heck is going on? Urgh - this has been going on for over a week. Maybe I should try another hosting site.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks! Eat lots of dead bird flesh!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

9 Wrap Party!

The wrap party last night was lots of fun. The animatic looks really great - it's been fascinating to watch it grow from its original story into something new and even better! 9 promises to be an animated film that's both beautiful to look at and an intense viewing experience, which is rare in an animated piece these days.

It was cool too because I got to meet a few people that I hadn't really seen around the office. I was mightily excited to meet Kevin Altieri (one of the directors from Batman: the Animated Series), and of course, being a Batman addict since childhood, I totally flipped (but not in an outright noticeable way...hopefully). I also got to congratulate Shane on his project, which was important to me because I feel like my meagre "Good Job" is my sincere way to let him know that he is, well, doing a good job! People need encouragement, and I love to give praise where it's due. More people should sincerely let others know when they're doing well; it makes life a smidge brighter. Sometimes I need to remind myself to be more encouraging, because I'm a bit introspective, selfish, and, well, daydreaming about 90% of the time.

I briefly met Shane Acker's wife, the lovely Sibyl, who has the super-cool job of being a set designer. She was extremely nice and polite, and I liked her quite a bit even though we chatted for approximately, oh, two or three minutes. The goodies from the wrap party: a T-shirt for each of us, and some French hors d'oeurves, as well as champagne mixed with pomegranate juice (yum, yum!). I think I drank at least six of them, they were so amazing! Don't worry, I got a ride home.

I really wanted to go drinking with some of the animation kids after the party, and I was invited to tag along, but alas! I had class the next morning, and I hadn't watch the film we were supposed to talk about yet (which my boyfriend ever-so-sweetly rented for me, Thank You!!!). Luckily, my friend had an early start planned for the next day, too, so there weren't any conflicts there.

Now 9's off to Luxembourg - good luck, guys, and happy eating!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Linkish Day

My friends strive to make my life better in a multitude of ways. For example, my one homie Evelyn is attempting to brighten my life with a new addiction, the ever-so-sexy World of Warcraft experience. I think I need this. However, I am unable to play at the moment due to a MASSIVE AMOUNT OF HOMEWORK. So I have been entertaining myself by watching the different races dance (also thanks to Evelyn). I am so Horde. Come January (when I'm signing up), the Alliance will be going down!!!

My other friend Meghan has expanded my horizons through mindless entertainment. Come and join the kittenwar (and lose a few hours of your life), or watch this prophetic video about fame (done in Flash, and actually animated in a style very similar to still yet another one of my friends's).

Speaking of Flash, my action script is going abominably today. My notes taunt me - why can't I figure out the rollOver thing so that my movie clip moves when a button is, ahem, rolled over??? That's it, I'm going to brood while I eat my lunch.

Tonight's the night of the 9 wrap party. Animatic and French food - yay! I will have to brood over a light lunch, instead of something overly settling and carbohydrate-y.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

9 Leaves California

Today is a SAD day at my internship - because it's my last! 9's wrap party for the pre-production peops is this coming Monday, and after that, it's off to Luxembourg for the higher-ups among the crew. One of my favourite co-workers, Chaz, left early today to go get married (track his approaching marital funtimes at monkeysgohome, his amazingly talented fiancee's blog - I wish I had money so that I could afford to buy her paintings!). When he left, it really sank in that today is my last day - boo. This internship has been a helluva lot of fun - the film itself is great (the story's gonna rock, trust me), the people I worked with are great, and the environment has always been very positive and committed to producing an outstanding work of art. I will miss this when I go out into the real world and have to get employed...probably.

In the meantime, my progress report:

My Novel: More Notes
My Film: Painted Some Backgrounds
My Flash Website: Worked on Some Artwork, Then Went to Bed
TV Series: Um, It Was a Bad Week Last Week...Meeting Was Supplanted by Avatar and Shots of Chocolate Liqueur.
Presents for My Loved Ones: Have Contemplated Much, and Produced Little
Also: Finished a Short Story About a Dildo in Love on Tuesday.

I have an idea for a painting I really want to make that I may squeeze in this weekend. If so, be prepared for the weird, as per usual!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Most Recent Animation From Around the World

If you're in the area, this Friday at 4:00 PM there will be a screening of short animated films that you can attend for the low, low price of free. Taking place at the Bridges Theater on the UCLA campus, among the shorts presented and hosted by Ron Diamond will be a new Pixar film and a quick flick from the artist who brought us the Academy Award-winning short, The Old Man and the Sea (apparently this new piece is in Russian without subtitles, but allegedly quite beautiful).

See you there.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Life Progresses...

This past week has been exceptionally rough. A couple of family emergencies have happened (in a row), and I'm reminded of how much my parents both want me to succeed. It's very, very important to them that I finish school (not a problem) and secure a place in life where I'm happy and financially supported (note I didn't state "financially independent" - that's not so important to them). I love both my parents very much, and like many children, try to make them proud.

The above may sound egomaniacal - this post is really about personal success - but when my dad was in the hospital this week that's all he wanted to talk about; me finishing school, how proud he was of me, and how much he loved me. That's all I'm going to write about concerning that. I don't need this blog to dissolve into a diary.

But here's why I mentioned it at all: my dad's words were inspiring, motivating. Sometimes I forget how much my parents are counting on me. It's a lot of pressure at times, and I'm not always great at staying on task, but I need to work hard and do my best, because they're counting on me. It's a large reason in a room of many.

The image this week is a prop from my 8 minute film. I ended up retouching some backgrounds today from that film, and this is one of my favourite stills. Lurid coloring, perhaps, but they're appropriate for the scene. Besides, brilliant colors fill my head all the time - sometimes they leak out in my art.

Again, all images retain copyright by me, Michelle Lopes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Behold the Zombie Girl!

As promised, the (beta version) of the zombie girl I worked on has arrived! Click here to go visit her. Go on, you know you want to play...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Day of the Dead!

I was going to post a sneak peek image of the zombie interactive thingy I made in Flash 8 (it's really easy to extract images of stuff you've created in Flash, just go to File/Export and save it as an image, adjusting the image quality levels until you're satisfied), but I left my flash drive at home! So instead I'll just have to wish you all a happy day of the dead, and show you this background I did for my film, which, appropriately enough, is of a cemetary. All rights retained by Michelle Lopes.

Internship report: So far I've spent the day scanning an entire book. It was, um, repetitive, but O.K. Also, I really felt like having a beer at lunch so I said screw it, and had a beer with my burrito.

Progress on Novel: None since last report.
Progress on TV series: Nada
Progress on 8 Minute Film: Zip
Progress on Web Site: I Made a Flow Chart!!! Wheeeeee!
Progress on Research Paper: I Thought of a Really Good Topic and the Teacher Liked It.
Progress on Drinking While on the Job: One Beer Down...Um, I Don't Think This Is Really Going to Be a Regular Thing, So...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thanksgiving Approaches...

How was your Halloween? I've made a little interactive zombie for you to play with, but alas! It won't be up on the internet until next week. Until then, I hope this little appetizer can tide you over. Ah yes, it's time for more Photoshop fun! In this piece I opted for more of a cut-out, not quite properly blended feeling. I used about five layers for lighting, adjusting the opacity on basically black brushstrokes untill it felt somewhat organic. Although many artists at my internship don't opt for separating shadows onto different layers, I find that they often want to go back and make changes, and aren't able to do so as quickly as if you divvy them up. Kitschy and adorable, can you resist cuddling this sweetheart of a skull?

Again, it's my skull (I even signed it!), so no stealing por favor.