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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.