Saturday, November 19, 2011

EYES! Cease your bleeding!

Are you tired of watching animations in full screen and being treated to this heresy?
Wouldn't you rather be treated to this kind of heresy instead?
Remember earlier this year when I said I put off Empire of Sock for an entire, precious month just to reshoot and remaster my older projects? That's right. They're online now, and making a marginal difference to everyone, everywhere. You can head over to the films page or my new page and start rewatching everything in shiny HD. The 'HD' doesn't stand for 'high definition' (as it's probably not technically HD), but rather 'Hot Dangity' (because it's a lot better than what we had before).

HD Remastering change log of petty changes:
• All animations have been reshot and remastered except for:
 - ARGHHHTOR (because some of the original frames are missing due to being burned during filming)
 - VoyageWaffle (because I was missing the live-action/photo components)
 - You Don't Want to Leave (because I hate it)

• SuperVillain is now semi-colored due to a poor coloring job done several years ago for an On Demand-only TV special.

• Valentine's Day 2007 has new music.

• SuperVillain 3 has slight timing/editing fixes, as well as improved lighting effects.

• SuperVillain IV has additional sound effects for the Popezord's movement.
Meanwhile on the update front: Valentine's Day 2012 is well underway and looking like it might be the largest and most complicated episode yet, which means I'm in for an insanely hectic couple of months (after which I get to enjoy another insanely hectic couple of months finally getting Empire of Sock completed). Hitting Stuff at a Building is, as always, cruising along. It is often cruising in a stationary fashion however, as I'm a jerk and keep holding it back in order to add more stuff in.

In case you missed it, I also released a preview consisting of the first two minutes of Empire of Sock on Halloween. Go check it out!

Monday, October 3, 2011


As you might have heard from the endless torrent of whining going on in the comic, Empire of Sock has reached maximum density and is actively collapsing into some kind of black hole that only obliterates time. I thought this would be a good time to go back and explain just how ridiculous things have become through demonstrating exactly how much these animations have mutated over the last five years. After all, excuses are the currency that fuels the.. printing presses, so let's.. end this sentence. I'm under the impression that this entry will be really, really boring, but everyone's always on my case to tell them about how I animate, SO YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELVES!

(click to enlarge)
Way back in 2007 when BarfQuestion Films began, animations were retarded little things that took maybe 10 - 15 hours max to pump out. Black and white, with little to no shading, and sketchy, ass style that I was able to whip out on the fly because I hadn't discovered quality standards or the existence of light tables (as I was tracing all my frames in midair over a hand powered flashlight that died every two to three minutes.

(click to enlarge)
After awhile of this I decided I'd be really hardcore and spend more than a week on these things. Thus production time bumped up to 30-40 hours and I started doing really fancy stuff, like shading! This black and white stuff got really old though, and I decided to finally start applying myself.

(click to enlarge)
Having finally acquired a light table, I began saving a lot of time because I wasn't stopping every three minutes to wind the flashlight back up and didn't have to break my wrists attempting to trace frames in midair. I could also work past 10 p.m. without pissing off my roommate by making hideous whirring sounds from the aforementioned flashlight winding. Having finally discovered the time-saving magic of self induced insomnia, BarfQuestion Films achieved a new level. And so I made the transition into low quality, extra scribbly, and low saturation color. At this point, things started to get more out of control, and I slowly moved into production time involving hours in the triple digits.

(click to enlarge)
The fourth stage revolved mostly around learning to not suck so much. As in, making the colors more vivid, and the animation more swooshy and fancy-like. Now animations were solidly out of the "took me dozens of hours to animate" region and fully into "took me hundreds of hours to animate" territory. And here is where I hit a wall. Having achieved critical mass, I could no longer effectively increase the amount of detail in these films without exponentially increasing production time. I knew I had to do something if the madness were to further escalate.

With 2010's "The Faster the Treadmill" music video, certain shots required that I 'composite' several frame elements on top of each other, instead of drawing every detail of every frame for every frame like I usually do. Suddenly it occurred to me that I could use this process for my normal animations too. A huge amount of time is wasted on shots where the background is simply three repeating frames, but the subject is moving all over. So why draw the background dozens of times? Why not just make the three background frames separately and then composite the action on top of it? I then researched this and learned that this is basically how all animation is done, since forever, and I was just being retarded this whole time. Just another 'self taught animator' moment.

For the "you wouldn't have these problems if you used computers 100% of the time" faction of fans, I ALREADY TRIED THAT. I'm not very good with computers but this program called KidPix sounded pretty legit, but not even that lived up to my expectations. And no one's going to convince me that there's a better computer drawing program than KidPix. It has an ice cream stamp.

I was under the impression that this new method would magically hurl me through animations at the speed of light, and became severely depressed after spending over half a year on "Empire of Sock." WHY WASN'T THE MAGIC WORKING? WHY IS IT STILL TAKING SO LONG?? I did a quick, rough estimate today and realized that "Empire" is going to be like 7-10 minutes of non-stop action sequences (and insanely detailed ones at that). Suddenly everything makes sense. The upside to this is that this episode should be the best yet, besides possibly breaking the record for my longest animation. The bad news is that it seems I will have to drop production on this at the beginning of November in order to get "Valentine's Day 2012" out on time. Production on "Empire" will then resume in February, hopefully seeing a release by April. Even worse, I realized recently that the "SuperVillain 6" trailer said it would be out in 2011, and I'll be lucky to get that thing out before 2013 at this rate as it is just as enormous and hectic as "Empire" will be (if not more). Fortunately, several of the series are nearing their ends, and the ever escalating production times will finally cease (hopefully).

Well after all that boring animation technique jargon/whining/excuse-making, I should probably drop some new info on the third episode. Talks have been underway, and the Hamster Alliance will be producing the score for this episode. And the music I've heard so far is some really incredible stuff that matches the tonal shift and atmosphere of the piece perfectly. Secondly, I did a ton of planning and writing for this project. Because of this, the visuals and narrative are both complex and at their most surreal in this one, although I guarantee there will be loads of retards writing it off as "totally random" or "you sure must do a lot of drugs" because I'm not dumbing it down to make sure the imagination-deficits will understand it. I've also been sure to include multiple scenes of nearly every creature and character in the series thus far (as well as several new ones), as to make sure everyone gets in on the action. The only people that will be disappointed will be fans of the propane tank from "Dawn of Sock," and big heart catfish thing from "Advent." But that's okay, because most people thought the propane tank was a jar of exploding mayonnaise.

Okay, my self-esteem meter is bottoming out as the voices telling me that this information is really inane and boring are getting really loud and exasperated. I'm trying to update the comic whenever possible, time's just in short supply lately. But there are like a million stupid easter eggs that I'm sure no one's found yet, so I'll just leave you all with that in an attempt to frustrate and keep you all entertained a little (actually a long) while longer.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Messy, Poorly Drawn Keyframes Sure Make Great Teasers

Penciling on Empire of Sock is, as always, taking forever for a variety of reasons. While you wait, please enjoy the complementary peanuts (both invisible and intangible) and these teasers consisting of malfunctioning rough sketches/keyframes (that I've since turned into much prettier actual frames).

At one point I was having serious difficulties animating how Ceriazibus' heads split open and ended up drawing it like a tiny bird.
Final product guaranteed to be 500% less cute. Anyway, I'll get back to you in five years when all the animating is finished.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Double Feature!

Happy Extra Special Early Valentine's Day! As you should have watched by now, Valentine's Day 2011 has been completed and is online! As previously mentioned, this one is a bit shorter than normal because someone complained that it was really hard to match a gift that took several hundred hours to make, but someone doesn't realize that someone is so special that she totally deserves such a time consuming gift.

Speaking of Valentine's Day gifts, this year Danielle gave me a super awesome present in the form of an adorable flash game! I made some artwork for it and we added some extras and the result is a game by the title of Cardiac Snowdrift! (Click the link to play, or alternatively play it with medals on NewGrounds here)

There are a couple of neat features we're really proud of in this. Firstly, thirteen different characters from the Valentine's Day series periodically pop up and comment on your progress!

Next, in the past years I've gotten several commission requests to make Valentines for other people's significant others, which I absolutely refuse to do (paying other people to express affection for you is not expressing affection)! But this game contains a kind of compromise! By rapidly picking up hearts quickly enough, you'll unlock one of thirteen, downloadable Valentine's Day cards (although two are unlocked under special conditions)!

These were inspired by those stupid elementary school era, slip of cardboard style Valentines you glue candy to. You can download, print, email, send and/or creepily palm them to whoever you want!

There is also an easter egg for anyone who earns 99,999 points (we estimate this would require playing the game without dying for about 70-100 hours straight).

This is only a small beginning for BarfQuestion Games. As previous posts have shown, we're still in the middle of a much larger game called "Hitting Stuff at a Building." I can't give any estimates at all about when our other games will be coming out (they are really slow and unpredictable), but this is our tentative queue for game projects:

1. Hitting Stuff at a Building

Destroy a gargantuan skyscraper with a badminton racket, and of course, stuff.

2. The Adventures of Puddlenaut

The (hand drawn) 8-bit game featured in "The Faster the Treadmill" music video, including an open ended free will mode starring Fetusaur.

3. Orb of Sock

Burning victims and summoning giant monsters as Sock.. in a pinball machine.

4. SuperVillain Simulator (working title)

Could quite possibly be the most open ended game ever designed. Do everything you've always wanted to as our cardboard clad antagonist.

5. Barfnarök (working title)

A massively indulgent game. Not going to say anything else about this right now.

Anyways, that's more than enough of getting your hopes all up (just so I can dash them against the pavement later WAHAHAH). Next up is "Empire of Sock!" I'm going to be doing some animation experimentation on this one, so there is a good chance I'll be posting about it again well before it is released.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Inconsequential Swarm of the Tiniest News

Suddenly, there are lots of trivial updates to be sharing with you! I've been doing my annual site tinkering and thought I'd first run over a list of little stupid things I added for you completionists.
* There are 17 new animated gifs on the animated gif page.
* I finally fixed some minor site bugs, including upgrading the films page so that it's not tediously infuriating to navigate.
* There's fourteen new entries (in two directories) on the poorly hidden database section for those who have found/care about it.

Next up, the comic! My new year resolution was to do more of this. I realized that on my YouTube page I've been advertising that I update the comic five times a week (see below image). I then realized I either needed to edit that image or start updating five times a week again. And for some reason updating more frequently seems less inconvenient than modifying an image but I don't know how that works. So be sure to start checking the comic out five days a week again starting Monday, January 24th!

In other news, Sulek is getting close to releasing their third album, "Birds in the Attic!" I'm not doing the artwork for this one, so I hope no one got their hopes up that I would. I actually was pretty involved in the creation process this time, but none of my material worked out. The album title was initially "There's No Bottom," and so I made this concept art/pitch for the band when they asked for artwork:

The idea was that the album artwork, as in "Believer's Lane," would convey a story. This time the band traveled to a city of giants and stole a giant's butt, leaving him with no bottom. They then ran away and fell off the city and fell forever because there was no bottom (again). However that idea wasn't serious enough, so it got dropped and then the title underwent lots of changes. The band decided they wanted to do a bird themed album and asked me for a title suggestion and so I pitched the title "Lookout, Windshield!" but that didn't take either. They finally decided on "Birds in the Attic," and I decided I didn't want to draw birds in an attic, and so I didn't.

In the next episode of "Grey's Excuses," I'll try to justify why I haven't released a new game in over a year!

Anyways, speaking of Sulek- for a limited time they've got a couple of new tracks up for download and some new show dates so check that out at their site!

Up next - Valentine's Day!