LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR ANIMATION!

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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THE MISTY MOUNTAIN

The Misty Mountain

Inside Our Tram Car
We traveled in a lonely tram car through the misty mountain. High above the landscape, we watched the clouds roll beneath us. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. We were experiencing real nature in all its glory. As we watched the people passing by in tram cars going the other way, we could only imagine what great sites they had seen. We got more excited about our destination.

The Beautiful Scenes

The Mist Surrounds Us
Very quickly, the mist began to surround us. Visibility dropped dramatically. What was once distant fog, began to crowd right around our tram. There was a bit of tension in the car, but we continued on, automatically propelled along the cables to our destination. Before long, there was nothing. We couldn’t see anything outside our window. The cables gave no indication of where we came from or where we were going. They simply disappeared into the endless fog. We were beginning to get a bit nervous.

We talked nervously about what might lie ahead. No matter where we looked there was nothing more than a never ending grey. Finally we noticed the cars passing us on the other side, had no people in them!

The Empty Tram
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ROLLING ALONG

When I wrote that first blog post, I had no idea how quickly things would fall into place and start moving. The very next day, I found a web host that would accept my Paypal account and the ball got rolling. Being out of the country, though, there were a few minor hurdles as far as documents they needed to prove my identity. Still, within a day, my web hosting account was up and running. I pointed my domain name to the new server and waited for things to propagate throughout the internet.

I immediately started building my pages. The basic skeleton of the site is all done already. Even though I still haven’t posted anything besides a quick “under construction” page, most things are all setup. The last major issue getting my online store going, which I remember to be a rather difficult task based on my previous experiences with iPhone Alchemy. Beyond that, there will simply be the task of populating the new site with media. That’s really what this new site is about. I am an artist, and I want to create my own anime!

My own anime and manga media page

In the last post, I said I would go into why I haven’t created anything worth noting in so long. There are a number of reasons for this which can be divided into a few categories. This first category which I wish to cover is:

THE TECHNICAL

Somewhere back in 2006, or maybe 2007, I discovered Poser. Up until this time I had pretty much used Lightwave 3D, modo and TVPaint for all my 3D, cel shaded, anime work. Poser, I thought, was not a useful tool for any professional graphics work, and had little value beyond possibly doing extras in the background or tiny people walking around in matte paintings. When Poser 6 was released, though, with the new characters therein, I changed my tune. I also discovered Vue Infinite around this time as well. Basically this was a radical change to my entire workflow.

Those who followed my old blog will remember how excited I was at the wonderful new tools available in Poser. I was playing with the Talk Designer, the Walk Designer, loads of content and posting every little new test I created with enthusiasm. The quality of my work, in my view, improved, but the speed at which I could create skyrocketed. Vue played a huge part in this too. It finally began to feel like I could realize a dream. I could create fast enough to make production of whole series possible.

My older 3D cel shaded anime characters

The problem, though, was I got caught up with something. You could call it “Keeping Up With the Joneses.” This doesn’t mean there were actual people, certainly not named Jones, that I was trying to match or outpace. This means I was chasing after technology. Rather than taking what I had and getting deep into creation of a 3D cel shaded anime movie, I began to chase each new thing I could get my hands on with thoughts of improving even further. Poser 6 quickly gave rise to Poser 7. Vue 5 Infinite gave rise to Vue 6. Companies like Daz3D and Efrontier were constantly releasing new characters, new costumes, and great content, each thing being better than what came before it. This led to something of a backlash.

Newer characters may have looked better than those that came before, but they were also higher in polygon count, making them slower to work with or more difficult to control. Newer features often meant longer render times for 3D, cel shaded, anime characters, or more difficult setups. Couple this with the seeming need to produce everything in huge HD resolutions and suddenly the entire creative process became unnecessarily convoluted, and generally not fun. The result was nothing got finished, aside from a lot of flashy looking experiments with new technology.

New 3D cel shaded toon rendered anime characters

I am sad to say, after all these years, that what I had discovered back in 2006, with those old characters and that old technology, and those first exciting test, was, in fact, the way to go. I remember not long ago, while being totally burned out on this overly detailed, super high resolution project I was doing, taking a step back and looking at the old ways. I did side by side tests. I then called a number of normal people, meaning people who don’t do CGI, don’t draw, and generally don’t care about the little things artists might fuss about, to look at this stuff. They saw no difference between the work I burnt out putting all that effort into, and the super fast creations using the old techniques I developed when I first got these new tools. At that time, I knew things had gone horribly wrong, and it was nobody’s fault but my own.

A test of a simpler hand drawn anime style character

That incident, though, was back in 2009! I should have had the technical aspects solved at that time. Although I did get sidetracked with other things, the technical battle still wasn’t over. Poser 8 came along with even better features and more new characters and content, and I stated experimenting again. It took me many more months to get where I am now, realizing that I had it right early on, and feeling like I can finally just sit down and create my own anime film. I will look at some of the other categories into which I divide the reasons for my lack of productivity in future posts.

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STARTING OVER

I am writing this even though I do not yet have a web host. I do not yet know when this will be published online. I am writing it, though, because I can’t wait, and I feel a strong urge to write. It has been almost an entire year since I posted anything, even though my site has actually been down only a few months. How did this come to be? Well, I guess I should start with that story.

Shanghai is where I make anime

I am currently living in the amazing city of Shanghai in The People’s Republic of China. It is a city of the future. Anyone who has followed me for the ten years since my independent, 3D, cel shaded anime, Understanding Chaos, will remember that very old blog when I chronicled my first trip to China in 2002. I have wanted to return to Shanghai since that time, and now I not only did so, but I live here. I have partnered with one of the guys I demoed with back then, who now has his own small studio, and we have a few projects in the works. So what does that have to do with my website going down?

I have been traveling for three years now. I have spent time in Japan, where the real anime is made, Korea, The Philippines, Hong kong and now China. Somewhere in all that, my bank accounts and cards eventually became all foreign. When it came time to renew my website payment, I found out that my web host didn’t allow payment from foreign cards or accounts, not even a foreign Paypal could work. Basically, there was nothing I could do, and after a short time, everything went down.The next question, I suppose, would be why didn’t I immediately get things back up? I don’t really have a concrete answer for that. I knew I didn’t want to host locally. I also knew there were probably web hosts that would accept Paypal. I guess, on some level, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to do the site anymore.

I remembered days gone by when I just did my thing, make my own anime movies, and didn’t spend all my time on the internet, posting in forums, chasing down leads, managing ad campaigns, or worrying about internet marketing. I am still quite certain I never want to get back into that. I just want to create. I have stories to tell, and images to get out of my head and onto the screen. Still, I often come up with an urge to write and I had no place to do so. I still needed an outlet. I found outlets for some things. My modo videos have been selling on Source 3D, and that has helped me a lot out here. I was content, in fact, to just sell all my content on other sites, and enjoy my time off the internet. The problem, though, was that urge to write, and some of the topics had no fitting outlet other than my own site and blog.

Terrence teaches how to draw anime at the Hangzhou Comic and Animation Festival 2011

Most of the time I spend on the internet these days is wasted, I feel. One of the reasons is because I am just consuming, often, useless material, but I am not creating, making my own anime, and I am not contributing. My time could be better spent doing other things. I am not sure how much time I will spend on the internet even with this new site. When I have the urge to write, and something to say, I will be here. Other than that, I hope I will spend my time creating content, original anime movies, and improving my skills as an animator and storyteller. That’s another huge issue I will go into at some later date, the question of why I haven’t really created anything in so long.
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