Final Independent Animation Training teaches you how to draw anime

Animation on a Shoestring shows how to draw anime

Understanding Chaos shows how to draw anime

Anigen Video BUndle shows how to draw anime like the pros

Shadowskin shows how to draw anime in 3D

Final Secrets on how to draw anime with 3D cel shading

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Learn how to draw anime with 3D cel shading and mocap

As I am sure you know, especially if you want to learn how to make anime, my Anigen Final Secrets video delivers the fastest, easiest and most versatile system for creating high quality animation that I have ever developed. Still, what if there was a way to add even more power to this amazing technique? Well, there is, and it is not anywhere near as expensive as one might think.

I have been hearing about Microsoft Kinect for some time, but I never really took the time to look into it deeply. I had even heard it was used for low cost motion capture, but I had no idea how low, or just what was really involved. Now that I have looked into it, the results I have discovered are nothing short of amazing.

The Kinect device itself is something of an innovation in its own right. I was surprised to learn that its original purpose wasn't really for motion capture per se, but as a type of human movement driven game controller for the Microsoft XBox 360. Basically a player could stand before this device and their on screen character would copy their motions in realtime. You can imagine how this might work for a boxing or tennis type game. Apparently, many people imagined this because it sold something like 10 million units in a very short time, becoming the fastest selling consumer electronics product in the world.

Someone at the company Ipi Soft, however, saw a different possibility with this machine. They saw a means by which you could use this device to do motion capture, without the need of spandex suits and markers, and without multiple, expensive infrared cameras. With this one device, and their software, you are ready to go, and you see your results in realtime! They export to all the popular mocap file formats and it works in just about any tool you might want to use, including Poser or even the free Blender. Imagine what this means for the world of independent content creation and those who want to learn how to make anime! The techniques of Anigen Final Secrets, combined with the most affordable mocap system ever devised is a sure win!

When I talk about affordable, this Kinect device costs around $150 USD. The software, which does have a 30 day free trial, ranges from $395 to $895 depending on which version you need. That's it! You are up and running with your own motion capture studio! They call it motion capture for the masses and it seems they are not kidding. Go to Youtube and search Kinect Motion capture and you will see plenty of samples of what is possible. This is really the future. You don't need millions of dollars or major studio backing. This statement couldn't be more true than it is today!



I am finally back in Shanghai, having left that world of adventure to return to the "real world". I must ask, however, what is so real about it? What has made us accept this mode of living is the one correct way? Well, of course, all of us haven't. There are people who spend their lives outdoors, shun computers and connect with people face to face rather than on Facebook. Regardless, I have seen many modes of living, during my journey, and now I am back in what has, for me, been most normal.

Back in the office, I can begin to think about the next steps, and here I will try to give you a rundown of some of the things I am contemplating, and some of the motions I intend to make. The first on that list is Paragon. New technology has made it possible to achieve an even higher quality that I originally envisioned for this show. That technology is Poser Pro 2012. The new innovations in this software will bring a lot to the table. Those following the Paragon production blog will so more on that as it develops.

Poser Pro 2102 adds a lot help you learn how to draw anime

The budget for this show, through the crowd funding website, did not reach where I had hoped, but that is not going to stop this production by any means. I have always said you don't need millions of dollars or major studio backing, and I am going to continue to prove this to be true, producing the best show that can be done with the available resources. It does mean I will have to intersperse its creation with other projects and time in the office, but doesn't that seem to be the way labors of love always work out? Either way, there are no limits today, only time.

There certainly are no limits when it comes to technology, and that brings me to my next issue. As you well know, the iPad started something of a tablet revolution and now every major electronics manufacturer has some form of tablet based product. Among those, that majority of which are very similar to the Apple model, are a couple which sport pressure sensitive pens, much like the Wacom tablets or Tablet PCs of old. You may remember the days when I was constantly drawing on my "Mirage Nomad" Tablet PC. Even though these modern tablets are underpowered compared to todays desktops and laptops, I suspect they might perform well against that older computer, and I want to put this to the test.

The Lenovo Thinkpad for artists?
Originally, I had my sights set on a new Tablet PC, of which there are few choices left in today's iPad market. That is to say, real Tablet PCs which run real Windows and are fully powered computers are few and far between. They also remain a bit on the expensive side. That may not be an issue, though, since I have been seeing reports everywhere of artists adapting these new, lighter, mobile tablets for drawing and producing great art on them. So I am thinking about trying a different path for 2D work. I will try one of these newer tablets, albeit one which comes with a pen, rather than add a third party device. It is my hope that, while I am sure this is only the beginning of the tablet revolution, we will see these things increase in power and ability such that artists will finally have a dream tool to work on, something easier to carry than a laptop, but more favorable for drawing and painting anywhere.

So what exactly will I be drawing on this tablet? Well, that gets into future projects, not the least of which will involve the things I have seen and experienced during my travels. The ideas and inspirations which have come to me as a result of my journey must be put to the screen. Of course, this will take time, but I am excited at all the new possibilities. On one hand, I honestly feel that something was lost upon my return to so-called "normal life". Still, I know there is a lot to be gained in getting down to some serious production and creating new things.



A Village High Among The Clouds

I stood in a village, high among the clouds, and wondered what life was really about...


Clean air and water among the clouds
I have always said that travel changes people. In recent years, though, I have been doing it so much that the strength of these effects may have been lost on me. Still, I found, last week, as I stood in this traditional mountain village, that the effects are still there, still profound, and can strike at anytime. Was I standing in a fantasy movie? Could any of this be real? The air and water were clean and pure. The people were traditional and simple. It was like I stepped into a long lost age where all the things that seemed so important in modern life simply didn't matter anymore. How do you cope with the questions that arise when you're faced with a new picture of what life could be? How do you deal with the feelings that well up when you realize there is so much more to life, people and the world? Well, this is all a part of what we call inspiration. If you're an artist like me, you draw it!

If there is one thing these experiences have given me, it is focus. I like to call it creative focus. I can see so clearly how to apply my skills for best results rather than dissipate them on too many endeavors. I can see more clearly what I must create, and that I must create to find any sort of fulfillment. Although there may be pockets of fulfillment in all corners of life, things must eventually narrow down to that one main goal, that one thing that you know is your task. When you have discovered it, this is the thing you must devote yourself to fully.

Xijiang, a village among the clouds

My time in this fantasy world, and in this unreal life, will soon come to an end. I will be back in Shanghai among the maze of great skyscrapers, video screens and gadgets in every hand. I will not, however, be the same person that walked those streets before. I am more focused, and with new goals in mind I will move forward, ever so determined to create more of what I should create, rather than being pushed and pulled by perceived market forces and outmoded ideas. I have talked to the people that have done it, and are doing it. They do exist. Perhaps now my life among the rigors of big city and back in the office will be the one that seems not real.

Thanks to all that I have learned, the motions made over the next few months will be big. You already know about Paragon, and some will follow its production, but there is so much more on the horizon. It will not, however, be rushed. Nothing will be. I have already made that mistake and will not repeat it. This blog may not be big enough to describe everything going through my mind these days. Projects big enough to do that are on the way.