You know how it is. As life goes on, and things change, opportunities arise and one finds new things on which to focus.

I am back in Shanghai and getting more deeply involved in the work I am doing here in China, and also my family, especially my 3 year old daughter. These occupy the vast majority of my time. Combine that with constantly rising web hosting and domain registration prices, and I feel the time has come to put to rest my web store and video training. What does that mean for you?


This is the final sale for Studio ArtFX and the last time this training will ever be available. For this finale, you get the lowest prices ever offered on everything here.


The MODO ALL Bundle with over 50 hours of MODO training across a wide array of disciplines only $97!!


Final Independent Animation Training, the last course you'll ever need is now only $97


Or Get everything, absolutely everything, on this site for just $197!!

This is your last chance to get this training before it's all gone for good. Soon its all coming down!




BLAME! features Polygon Pictures' best characters yet!

I recently got into a discussion about anime production budgets and CGI versus 2D hand drawn. Because of the BLAME! animated film, which I wrote about earlier, I had been thinking about digital paperless animation. Here in Asia, be it China, Korea or Japan, many studios still draw on paper. They are feeling the economic crunch that affects everyone these days, and in a bid to save money, many are turning to low budget CGI. It looks absolutely horrible and audiences hate it. (I don't mean BLAME! I am thinking Berserk) I think that only because of the prevalence of video games, younger audiences are getting more and more used to it.

One would think to ask the question, wouldn’t digital paperless be cheaper? On the one hand I DO understand why many don’t do it. Many of the veteran animators, the guys you hire when you really need to get things done, work on paper. That’s where their skill is. Because they work in large teams, they always know there is someone to scan that stuff into the computer, clean it up, color it and work with it from there. The artist doesn’t need to be able to do it himself.

The problem with this line of thinking is that when these guys are gone, 2D goes with them. Their skills aren’t being passed on and younger people are mostly into learning 3D, and going into games, because it pays better.

There is also the expense of equipment. Getting every artist a workstation and a Cintiq can be expensive, and then there’s the downtime that would come with retraining them. Most studios work on such thin margins that they are always a hair away from going out of business. They couldn’t afford the process to switch over.

Most TV animation in Japan is done at around $150,000 per episode. The CGI shows are supposedly coming it at $90,000 to $100,000 per episode. They still look horrible though. Also, in the case of CGI, you can’t just do anything. You can draw anything you can think of, but in CGI, you have to build the 3D models, texture them, put bones in them for animation etc. You are limited in what you can do. This shows in some of these programs, because when they come across something they can't do, it is drawn in 2D. The transition is so jarring it completely ruins the viewing experience and makes the show unwatchable. (To me at least, but I read similar feelings from a lot of people on the internet)

There might be some upfront pain associated with making the switch to digital paperless, but I believe in the long term, good quality shows could be made cheaper than, or in the same price range as, the CGI shows.

I may try to develop some courses along these lines and push this idea to studios around here.

Hopefully, coupled with that, I’ll be able to spend my off time working on some longer form animation projects of my own… And PROVE it!



E3 Kicked off recently and the AAA game companies have been wowing audiences with the latest, greatest trailers for their upcoming titles. Watching the plethora of new videos released over the last few days left me with a interesting question. Did Microsoft go wrong somewhere?

Screen shot from Ashen

Looking at the available trailers, it seems that both the titles, and the graphic quality of said titles, for the Xbox are lagging extremely far behind that of the Playstation 4. I have not been seriously into games for some time now, except for the promise held by game engines to help indie creators realize their dreams, but I always thought the Xbox and the PS4 were in the same league when it comes to processing power and graphics abilities. If the trailers from the most recent E3 are any indication, this is not the case.

Days Gone on the PS4

It certainly appears, at least, that the PS4 is showcasing games pushing a lot more polygons and with much more in depth rendering and shading technology. I would think that a lot of games, these days, would be using Unreal Engine 4, or CryEngine, if they're still in business, both of which can produce stunningly realistic images at high resolutions. What appears in the actual games on Xbox, though, looks nothing like what I have been seeing in demos.




When I first visited TOKYOPOP, years ago, to do World of Hartz for them, they told me I needed to study manga. They gave me access to the huge library of titles they had. One of the things they handed me was a manga called BLAME! Read More...


We have all heard about how robots and AI will begin to take over the majority of jobs. Whole industries will be wiped out, and masses of people will have to find new ways to earn a living in a completely new kind of economy. One area I thought would not be affected, at least not for ages to come anyway, was the realm of art and animation. I may have been wrong… Read More...


The new Marvel Black Panther film looks like everything I ever wanted to see in an African style fantasy film. I guess I don't need to make anything now! Read More...


It just dawned on me that all throughout the Netflix Luke Cage series, when they are talking about special weapons from Hammertech, they are talking about this guy from Iron Man 2!! Read More...


Sometimes I fear that truly don't understand what audiences want. I recently watched the movie The Space Between Us and loved it, only to read reviews afterwards which say things like, "The Space Between Us strands its star-crossed young lovers in a mind-numbingly vast expanse of shameless cheese that will send all but the most forgiving viewers eye-rolling for the exits."… Read More...


There are a lot of considerations when deciding whether or not to go with 2D hand drawn or 3D cel shaded for an animation project. A lot of it depends on what the goal is, the type of story being told and the style that best fits it. A lot also depends on the abilities of the artist doing the work… Read More...


Nothing pisses me off more than a show that "could have been". I think I may have written about this before, back during season one of Outcast. The first two episodes were some of the best television I had seen and held such promise. The show went straight downhill from there… Read More...