Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vimobot Contest Round 2

So I missed the ever-so-happening round one of the vimobot design contest, which just means I made it in time for round two! Essentially, you paint on a vinyl doll (provided by the mimobot company) anything you like, and the top ten designs are voted on, to narrow it down to a top three that will be manufactured by mimobot! You don't really get any sort of monetary compensation (as far as I can tell), but your sweet designing skills will be verily distributed across the land...and it sounds like fun to me. I ended up with a free blank vimobot after I purchashed my flash drive Psy, but mostly this is restricted to people buying the doll itself.

Posted above is an image of one of the winners from Round One, Holybot by the Fickilians. Of course, they retain copyright on this one, and not me. :)

I already have a design in mind...do you?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic Con Recap

So, I didn't get to see Neil Gaiman, but I accomplished pretty much all my other goals and had a really great time at the con nonetheless!

I ended up buying a 4 GB Psy mimobot from the ever-so-cool mimobot booth at the con (for the uninitiated, mimobots are really adorable flash drives).

The image I've posted is the cover of an erotic art comic I bought called Little Ego by Vittorio Giardino. The art and storytelling obviously owe a lot to Winsor McCay, and I can't say no to a book that has a woman trying to make a teapot ejaculate.

In the swag section I ended up with many cool items, including a neat Cartoon Network messenger bag with all sorts of scribbly illustrations along the outside, and a signed book by David Horvath, one of the co-creators of Uglydolls. He was super happy because I think I was one of the few people in the line who knew who he was, and actually wanted the book because I like his sweet designing skills. But the bestest swag included a free trial version of Corel Painter X and...(da ta da) Guild Wars (cuz I need another MMORPG in my life).

Of course I visited Jim Balent and Holly G., and I bought one of her new books, School Bites, which looked cute.

I attended Jerry Beck's annual presentation of the Worst Cartoons Ever, which I will give links to over the course of the next few months (they're worth seeing, if just to prove how utterly horrible a cartoon can truly be), and the gauntlet run of Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation, the highlight of which (in my opinion) was Lone Sausage's Angry Little Cinammon Bun.

All right people, that's about it. Enjoy the links!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm Going to Comic Con!

That's right, after I do my laundry and pack up my clothes I'm going to the (in)famous San Diego Comic Convention! This is a tradition I've done for a few years now, and though I loathe the heat and the crushing press of people at the convention center, I love books and art - and comics have both! In the spirit of Comic Con, I'm posting the illustration of the Widow Walker...a doodle and persona I've invented in my dreaming hours. She's less spidery and more nautical (a la a widow's walk), and is vengeful love personified. (Art note: I drew her a long time ago as an ink sketch, and added the drop shadow using Photoshop today)

On another note, here's what I plan to do at Comic Con:

1. See Neil Gaiman on Friday.

2. Buy a cute toy.

3. Find something cool I haven't heard about.

4. Buy a cool porn/erotic art.

5. Visit Jim Balent and Holly GoLightly.

6. Buy a mimobot flash drive (if I can afford it), and get the free extra one signed by a Happy Tree Friends artist!

Also, there will be a ton of UCLA love this Comic Con, including animators Amy Winfrey, Gil Kenan, and the irrepressible (and amazing) Tom Sito. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Forlorn Octopus

So my boss wants me to learn Adobe Illustrator since we're between commissions at the moment. I have to admit, so far I don't like the program much at all. We have version 10.0.3, which means that it doesn't do all that cool instant vectorizing that you can lay down with CS3, instead you have to map it out line by line, but I can't find a decent tutorial online that would help me out (plus it seems sort of redundant anyway since we'll probably be getting the new version soon). Also, there's a bug in my software that keeps on making Adobe Illustrator Help crash (which I think is the most amusing bug ever - Help! My Help isn't working!), so the going is, needless to say, slow. (And don't even ask about consulting the manual - it's hidden up in a loft I'd have to climb a pretty tall ladder to get to, and I am crap with heights).

This little illustration was made with - ta da - Illustrator, and polished (somewhat) with Adobe Photoshop. I did it with my mouse, hence the rough look of them - although I think it makes the fish look adorable. What I love about illustrations like these is the drawing of tears while a character is underwater. It doesn't make sense except on a purely symbolic level, and communication with symbols is really a fun little shorthand that humans are especially good at (hint: the alphabet, hieroglyphics, etcetera). Our lives are really summarized by symbols - from traffic signs to greeting cards - and our visual language is actually very rich.

Enough blabbering - enjoy your day, I'm going to work on my relationship with a certain program.

Image retains copyright by Michelle Lopes (that's me, sillyheads).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Inky! The Watercolor Wonder

I painted this girl a couple of weeks ago. Her name is Inky, and I kind of have a little story in my mind whenever I see her. I love working with watercolors - I get more control out of the colors and shading than when I work with acrylics or oils. Actually, I really want to take a painting class so that I can get a better grip on those very mediums. Maybe I'll start one next month - I know I'll be in excellent company with all those wealthy middle-aged men and women intent on learning a craft.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Bg for My Portfolio Site!

Here's a new pic I'm planning on using in my grand redesign of my portfolio site. Enjoy! Image retains copyright by Michelle Lopes.

ALSO: I fixed my comments today! You can now leave comments on this blog by clicking at the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. Be excited! I am!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Samson Myspace Movie

Yeah...this isn't animation either, but I've been rocking out to this for a week and cracking up each and every damn time I watch it, which is possibly psychotic. God, I love making fun of myspace!

Also, the comedian responsible for this awesomeness is a professional stand up, and has other hilarious movies at ifilm, including the "Ghetto Safari" series.

MySpace Song

Posted Jul 07, 2007

It's Myspace but it's your space too.

You should also go here to watch the Mastermind...dear God it's an awesome video.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thoughts on Happiness...

Author's Note: This is a deviation from animation and art - I will try not to do it again in the future, darlings...but sadly, you are in the hands of a madwoman.

I think a lot of people have misconceptions about happiness. People tend to think that happy people are stuck in some enviable alternate-universe bubble where only the sun shines and everyone has clear skin and health insurance.

Often, I am considered one of these happiness zombies. Because I am happy, they assume that nothing really bad has ever happened to me - that I am an inexperienced moron in the realm of human tragedy. But that's because they don't really think about it. Like many - and I'm not excluding myself here - they make the mistake of forgetting how to use empathy on an everyday basis.

Personally, I am not an inherently happy person. Like all people, I have worries, doubts, and painful - sometimes even wretchedly tragic - events that happen to me. However, unlike many, I choose to find the positive things in life and cling to them as vigorously as possible. People don't realize this simple truth: happiness takes work. It is difficult to step outside yourself and look for optimism. It is a struggle to laugh at the darkest times we all go through. But by gaining a perspective on life, really looking hard at yourself and the world around you, you'll often realize that no matter the tragedy, you will not only survive, but be able to find some small joy. Maybe it's from the natural world. Maybe it's from expressing your own creative spirit. Maybe it's realizing how poignant and beautiful it is that someone loves and cares about you, or from realizing that - no matter how you feel - you're honestly not alone.

Sure, sometimes I get depressed, but I realize my depression for its limitations - it occurs when my empathy, and my perceptiveness, are malfunctioning in some way. As soon as I remember how to think about myself in a more realistic, human context, my depression diminishes. And, in a while, I find myself able to laugh again.

Every tragedy, every loss, can become a smaller thing in this way. That doesn't mean it'll go away entirely, or that it should go away entirely. Rather, at times certain things that provoke unhappiness should be challenged with courage and vigour.

But that's exactly the point - you shape this world, and your happiness. No one else. So go make this world a happy one.

That is all.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Old Man's Sleepy, and So Am I...

Today I've been exhausted. I'm not complaining or anything - I hate whining - I'm just super sleepy. So instantly, I think of dozing old men, and in an effort to keep myself awake, I draw a dozing old man. I made him using my Wacom and Adobe Photoshop at work. I started drawing him with outlines, then removed them at the end - I think it's kind of interesting-looking, but I'm a little dissatisfied with it.

On another note - I always see on blogs that people's artwork gets shiny, glowing compliments unless the artist denigrates their own piece. Just a little ole observation I made today.

You, however, my dear and faithful reader, are completely prohibited from making any comments, thanks to the html from hell. Enjoy. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Inspirational Sketch

Today at work I remembered to bring my Wacom, see the difference from yesterday's sketch? Muy more control. This woman is the origin for (yet another) After Effects project I've been kicking around in my brain - one that might end up being a sort of animated signature for me. To say more about it - the final project would blend the divine and profane in my distinctly Lopesian way. And if it's Lopesian, you know it's gotta be good...or at least come with free sauce packets.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Look Ma, No Wacom!

Today at work after reinstalling Adobe Photoshop CS2 (my current version was missing files - so there was an uninstallation going on too) I decided to play around with the program to make sure it worked properly. Lo and behold, I'd left my Wacom at home, and the one at work is mysteriously missing a pen! What all this adds up to? I drew this sketch using only the mouse. Check out how interesting the lines look! Personally, I kinda like the wobble aesthetics-wise, but I would hate hate HATE it if I were forced to only draw this way. My hands crave control. Oooh, control freak alert!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fun Animation Tool...and Toy

What are you doing here? Go play. The sodaplay site, using math and basic principles of biology and physics, gives you tools to build your own organically fluid animations. You can edit just about everything - from frequency of movement to gravitational pull - which makes soda absolutely fascinating to watch and use. This can be a great tool for testing certain types of animation, and excellent for studying motion as well. Enjoy.

Go here to begin.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

It's the big day! As of 9:38 PM tonight, I am officially twenty five! (I know the time of my birth cuz my family is crazy obsessive like that). I share my birthday with both Franz Kafka, author of many depressing nihilistic tales, and Tom Cruise, a man beloved and laughed at by many for his adorable wacky hijinks. Was there any sarcasm in that sentence? I leave it for you, the reader, to deduce! Bear in mind, though, I actually don't give a tinker's damn about the popular media's opinion on practically anything, let alone something as uninteresting as celebrities. Did any of you notice that I was able to work "tinker's damn" into a sentence? Yay for me!