Hello! I finally have something worth posting (and showing)! As very very few of you know, I've been slowly re-making my old Robotech flash animations, episodes 1-10. Well, here is the trailer for episode 3. It may kill me to finish it considering how long it has taken to get this far, and how much work each scene takes, but I simply MUST finish it.
Background on the project (Feel free to skip this if you aren't interested) I started back in 2010 on the 3rd episode, working in Flash as I had for all previous animations. The problem was, I was rapidly outgrowing Flash and its limitations. I had already started using 3D extensivly, but I had to limit the complexity of scenes and objects so that it would play smoothly on most computers. By the time I finished 70% of the EP3 remake, my file size was something around 20 MB (beyond the upload limits back then) and far too complex for any computer not running a quad core. Right about then, Newgrounds was just starting to toy with allowing video submissions. I had already received all the voice work from my cast, so I figured I'd just need to convert what I had and finish the last few scenes. But since I was moving to raster animation, I nolonger had the same limitations, why not spice up the visuals a tiny bit? Well, I got a bit carried away, and set a rather high standard on one of the new scenes. This forced me to go back and bring the other scenes back up to speed. That cycle of improving one aspect, and rushing to bring the others up to match happend a few more times, such as my decision to move up to 720p. You'll notice in the video, some scenes are still out of date. You'll also notice that I've been improving models over time, so they change a bit from shot to shot. It's a god damn mess, but I'm going to finish it anyway.
I'll shut up and get to the video now. Please take a moment to thumbs it up if you enjoyed it at all. I'm not monitizing it or anything, I'd just apreciate the feedback. Comments are more than welcome too. P.S. Any Newgrounds Staff members, I was assuming posting this to Newgrounds would be considered bad form since it is a trailer. Am I wrong? Should I post it? Let me know.PLEASE WATCH IN FULL SCREEN!
I'm curious how many Newgrounders here are in Iowa. I should have asked this when I was stationed in Washington state, as I'm sure the number was far higher, but I'm still curious.
For those of you who think Iowa is nothing but farm land, you're not that far off. But we do have a few good sized cities such as Des Moines (And its 50 surrounding sub-cities like Clive, Ubandale, West Des Moines, and on and on) and Iowa City.
If anyone reading this remembers me from back in the day (I did all those Robotech animations), you may have noticed I've been silent for the past few years, save for some art and audio submissions that see little to no traffic. I've been thinking (and working) in the background to come up with something new for Newgrounds, and it would be really cool to collaborate with others locally too.
My 'new project' that has been new for years now, has some basic parameters:
1) It must be 'original.' I want the content to be free of other people's intellectual property so that it stands as its own work. This is tough for me because I'm better at taking existing IP to a new place than making my own, but if the work ever took off, I would want to be able to use it to draw more attention to Newgrounds.com
2) It must be primarily serious, IE it can be as funny as I want, so long as the characters within it have to face reality at some point -- no magically returning to a state prior to the episode like, say, family guy or SouthPark.
3) The work must stand on its own as visual art, not just good audio or writing. I love the stuff that comes out of Newgrounds, but many things only survive as a comedic piece, they have no visual justification.
I really wanted to go for a serious art style too, but because I've spent the last 5 years looking for a good character artist to collaborate with, and had nothing but failure, I have to create an animation style that is down to my level. I think I've recently come very close to this style, and (universe willing) may have some sort of pre-pilot test ready soon.
Well, you didn't have to read all that now! I just wanted to see if you were from Iowa, and then I started rambling, but thanks anyway. ^_^
I hope these are already in the pipeline for the redesign, but I figured I'd get them down in text anyway. It would be interesting to see what you guys think, and maybe we'll get official word on what is and is not a realistic feature for the future.
I love newgrounds, and I don't want it to turn into Facebook or anything, but my number one feature request would be some sort offollowing system.
If you find an artist you like, you can follow, or subscribe to them. Whenever they post new content, a message about the content lands in a inbox / ticker. Additionally, artists would be able to create sub-categories for their works so that serial works could be subscribed to specifically. For example, you could subscribe to the Awesome series from Egoraptor, and only get updates when that series is updated.
I feel like something that holds some artists back from having a real following is the lack of simplicity in tracking them. Yes you can add them to your favorites list, but that requires you to dig through your account page, and check all of your favorite artists each day to see if something new has been posted.
It would be cool if this same ticker / inbox would notify the user when an artist responds to a review they have created. Again, I know you can find these things, but the process is far from streamlined.
The ticker could also indicate new reviews posted on your own works. It might be best just to show a number, as popular works can receive many reviews. I find that I get a random review on one of my old works every now and then, but I don't discover it until I happen to be browsing through ALL of my work.
Why can we post as many youtube videos in a news post as we wish, but only one highly limited image? I'd love to see a revision to that.
I know there is no priority what so ever to upgrade the audio portal at this time, and I also understand that everyone is well aware of the zero-bombing that happens there, but should it ever get looked at:
*Songs should have to be allowed to play for a few seconds before a vote is cast.
*Users who submit to a given category are not allowed to vote on other works in that category for some time.
*Users have some sort of rating based on their audio portal voting habits. If they vote 5's all the time, they're one rank, and if they zero everything, they are another rank. No rank is 'better' than the other, but this would illustrate that user's voting habits. Zero-bombers could not hide :P
*Users are not allowed to vote on their own works! I'm shocked that we still can. Everyone's submissions fly to the top of the list when they 5 themselves for the first time.
*Why can we vote twice on the same work? Even at 24 hours apart, I've had disgruntled people who swing by every day for a week to zero bomb something. This goes for flash submissions as well.
In closing, let me clarify that I'm not dissatisfied with Newgrounds as it is now. My suggestions for improvement should not be taken as an insult to the hard work that has already gone into the site's design.
So, some of you may or may not be aware, but Newgrounds will eventually add support for video submission, like YouTube, but... not. This is BIG NEWS for animators everywhere! Flash is awesome, but it has some limitations, and if Steve Jobs has his way, it will die soon. Think I'm crazy? Check out how Adobe caved recently and started using HTML5 so that iCrap products could access their content.
I love how crisp flash is, and how it forces artists to work with limited means, but at the same time I dislike both of those features. The crispness is nice, but in the graphics word, the key to creating something realistic is all in the imperfections, not how flawless it is. Its interesting to see how artists get around the limits to how much can happen on screen at once, but for animators like me, I want to be free to show as much action as I wish.
When Newgrounds.com first started, a 10 minute flash could be 2 mb, while a 10 minute video would be 70 mb. Video compression technology has finally caught up, and the major benefits of using vector graphics for animation no-longer apply.
Some of you may be aware that I've been re-making my old series with updated graphics, voice acting and a clearer plot. Robotech Episode 3 Remake will be a video file, not a Flash. Over the past few weeks I've been painstakingly moving scenes over from Flash to Adobe After Effects and 3D Studio Max. Because Flash can't export video without serious compression artifacting, and because I need each layer with transparency intact, I've been exporting each layer as a series of PNGs. Its a pain in the ass, but it works.
I wanted to post this information to discuss the new video feature, the direction Animation is moving, and also to reassure my voiceactors that their work hasn't been for nothing, its just taking some time for the visual parts to reach a standard I consider acceptable.
If you want to see a sample of what I've got done, you can check out my demo reel below. (Warning: Contains obligatory techno, but its a good song by PrEmoEffect ). Jump to 3:15 to see the scenes. You can click the numbers 3:15 in my comment on the video to jump there quickly.
Also, please thumbs up the video if you enjoy it.
Sorry for the crazy post name, but I've got a lot of subjects to cover. To save you time (because I love you all like that) I'll do a quick overview.
1) I'm hosting a new internet TV / Radio show
2) I'm looking for musicians and even artists who'd like their content to appear on the show
3) I really need some help with a flash animation that I can't seem to rescue
4) I'm going to shamelessly ask Tom to give my show a shout out on the front page
The new show
My new job (at the moment) is as co-host on a internet streaming video / radio show called newCAST. Our focus is comedy driven current events, and music. We have three live shows a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:15 PM CST), and on Thursdays we spend the whole show featuring a local band, or musician.
Why do you care? Because A) the show rocks, and B) I love Newgrounds and want to rep some of the people and things from it, on the show. For starters, we've already found the Audio Portal to be a great resource. We make skits, and when we need a (royalty free) song for said skit, we simply find one on the Audio Portal, and then ask that artist for permission to use it. In exchange, we don't just credit them, but we add them to our credit page so that people can find them years down the road. Our page only gets about a thousand hits a day, but hay, its free publicity!
If you make music, and you'd like us to use it on the show, send me a PM letting me know what music I can use. If I find something I like (and I'm not some hardcore music weirdo), I'll use it, and credit you! Hell, I might just feature you, and by that I mean, play a song, talk about it, and direct users to your webpage / newgrounds page.
If you are a flash animator who makes movies, I'm also interested in showing your stuff. Every Tuesday and Wednesday we like to play a skit. I'd also like to play a flash animation on those two days, and then direct anyone who's interested back to that animation's page. This turns our viewers into Newgrounds fans, and I'm hoping Newgrounds can do the same for us.
My Flash Problem
As many of you know, Flash CS5 is a bit spaztastic. I've got a HUGE animation just SCENES away from being finished and submitted, but I can't seem to rescue it! If I work on it, saving causes a crash every few times, and I also have to do the Save As trick to make it CS4, and keep it from corrupting. I'd LOVE to just make it into a bloody VIDEO, but I can't seem to find any export settings that don't A) Crash, B) Produce a blank video or C) Make a corrupt / distorted video. I don't want to resort to using Snag It to just record it as it plays, but I'm at a loss for options here.
I've been trying to give back to Newgrounds since I got a free Wacom, and I haven't had much luck. I was either in Iraq, or out training to go back, and I never finished anything. Now that Newgrounds is going in a new (and quite justified) direction in regards to copyrighted content, I can't keep doing what I've been doing. I've said it before, and it still stands: Robotech Episode 3 Remake will be my last 'unoriginal' submission to Newgrounds, and that's only because I've almost finished it.
Until I can actually produce a new show, I'm planning on doing a little bit here and there plugging Newgrounds on my show. I'd like to feature Newgrounds animations from time to time, and use music from the Audio Portal, not just because they are amazing resources, but also to show people that there is AMAZING content out there that is under Creative Commons. There are a lot of talented musicians on Newgrounds waiting to be heard, and I feel like newCAST can help reach outside of the Newgrounds bubble.
My co-host and I would very much appreciate it if we could get a front page plug to help this cause, even if it just links to this post. At the moment, I'm living off this show, and unless our numbers improve, we won't be able to keep it up. Sponsors pay based on how many people watch the show. If anything, you could tell yourself you're helping a vet :P
Well on that slightly uncomfortable note, I shall bring this post to an end, but I will throw in a video of one of our skits, just for good measure.
I'll start out with the most important point (as far as Newgrounds goes). I'm still trying to finish up Robotech Episode 3 Remake so that Egoraptor and Tomar's work doesn't go to waste. Not often you get to hear them in totally serious roles :PI've got a reasonably sized role for a Female left to finish up the script, which can be read in its entirety here.
I have just filled this role. Many thanks to all who have applied.
This will be my last Robotech themed animation in order to conform to what I call the 'New Standards,' that is, not using copyrighted materials outside a blatant parody. This is not due to any sort of pressure from the owners of the Robotech/Macross IP, but mostly to abide by Tom Flup's recent post about copyrighted content. Newgrounds.com and its owners has taken the heat for far too many years, in order to cover for artists, and times are changing. Besides, original work is better in so many ways.
In other news, I'm starting a new JOB this week. I'm one of the hosts on a new Internet Radio TV Station thing, like, in a studio and stuff, not just sitting behind a $10 mic at home. This station gets hundreds of thousands of hits per week, so if you're interested in sponsoring our show, hit me up.
The show is called newCAST, and it revolves around current events, science and technology, and advancing new forms of media such as the Internet TV show. We're very interested in all things Newgrounds, so expect to hear about that on the show quite a bit.
We are Live every Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday at 7:15 PM Central time at www.newCASTlive.com.
If you liked the Inception movie trailer, and you want some music kinda like it that is free to use in your flash, check out Interception. I couldn't get the choir to sound reasonable so I sliced it up a bit. The hit is still there though, and strong too.
Secondly, I produced this thing today with the help of a MIDI keyboard (Finally). Its all played real time, layer by layer. Its also the only song I've ever (and probably ever will) dedicated.
I'd love to hear these in a flash, so if you do use one, please let me know. More than anything I could use some honest votes and reviews. Never Forgotten had a down-vote in the first 10 seconds of its life! That's insane, and obviously not enough time to listen to it.
EP3 Remake is essentially done, but since CS5 has corrupted the latest build, I'm stuck re-doing work, and I HATE re-doing work!
Just a heads up for anyone thinking of, or in the process of upgrading to Flash CS5. If you do, make sure to save your FLAs as CS4 or older! As of now, CS5 is corrupting FLAs when converting them to CS5, and it'll be a pain in the ass to recover otherwise. Luckily I've got backups, otherwise EP 3 Remake would be over with.
I was planning on launching Episode 3 Remake last Friday, but CS5 corrupted the save file and I haven't gotten around to pulling out the backup and re-doing about a day's worth of work. I just hope someone catches this before they do the same.
So, I'm finally back from the ol' sand box. You know all that 'ZOMG the last combat brigade' madness on the news? Yeah, that was us. So now that I'm done with that (again), its time to get back to work on flash animations, music, 3D models and books.
For starters, I've set up a new front end for my website BiggsProductions.com. It used to be a tiny flash animation that linked to the wiki. Not a whole lot going on there, but its getting started.
- Flash Animations
Robotech Episode 3 Remake is finished. Just waiting on one voice actress to turn in her lines, and I think she may have lost internet. I haven't heard from her in a while. I really don't want to re-cast the part. I'd actually rather cut the scene and introduce her character later. I'm considering doing a short pre-view youtube video for the hell of it.
I've uploaded another song. I don't care if you vote (because zero-bombing assholes will ruin it anyway) but I'd love it if you'd write a review. I'm going from FL Studio 9 to FL Studio 8 by using my desktop again, and so I've lost a lot of my tools. My laptop from the deployment is off getting fixed.
I have new Art uploaded too; the final version of my Isa Hiasashi image. If you think I'm worthy, please recommend me for the Art Portal.
- Xbox 360
I'm on Xbox Live as Aurel Tristen if you're interested in getting your ass stomped in MW2. If you do contact me on there, make sure you tell me you're from Newgrounds or I'll probably ignore you :P. Actually right now I don't have my MW2 disk because damn USPS is slow as hell. I got all my official mail (Army stuff) in 4 days, and all my personal stuff is STILL MIA.
- MMA Clothing
Do you like MMA? Do you know someone who is in/into MMA? You should check out Iron SMASH. The website might look a little odd right now (I'm building them a new one) but the products are top notch, and priced reasonably. That and all these tards wearing Tap Out need to be stopped, so pick up some apparel that isn't chode's number one choice.
And for the hell of it, here is some BF2 Project Reality
Well, I didn't know about Mindchamber's epic 2D animated transforming tank until I uploaded this to YouTube, but its worth sharing.
I wanted to make this into a pre-loader for Robot Day, but thanks to Iraq and its not being stable, I didn't get it done in time.
Built in 3D Studio Max in a total of about 5 hours.
As for the Robotech Episode 3 Remake, I've got one last set of lines yet to come in, and then its off to the last few dependent scenes. It is now 19.5 MB in size, so I'll have to do some serious optimization. I refuse to split it in half. Its just not long enough to feel RIGHT split in half, and then it gets far too off track from the 10 episode series it is supposed to be (though I've considered making two more additional episodes to flesh out the story a little more, and make it 'syndication compatible.'