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Friday at last, and I have 45 minutes to post to my blog again before I need to get home and grab my gamebooks for our D&D game tonight.

I've just finished my first real, live cartoon. Technically, I had already done such a thing, drawing a cartoony little Viking pulling an axe out of his pocket and smashing it into the ground - this was done on 54 index cards, coming out to a running length of around two or three seconds, I think. But this new cartoon is in color, with a scrolling background and all. Our Intro to Animation assignment for the last two weeks has been to draw a walking cycle, a piece of animation that could be looped to show a character walking, with some kind of background scrolling by to further indicate movement. I drew 15 pages of a Roman soldier carrying a shield and a gladius as he marched. I scanned the drawings in, colored each one in Photoshop, and then put them into a program called AfterEffects. This program allowed me to make multiple versions of the Roman character, varying their sizes and allowing me to stagger their walking cycles however I liked; I organized my little legionnaires into a formation and gave them a unified march, with their steps ever so slightly out of synch with each other so they'd look more like real people. I drew a simple landscape in Photoshop and set it up to scroll behind them, and voila, the Romans are on the march. They look pretty angry. It's a pretty simple little short, but it's immensely satisfying to see the end result of that work, and it actually makes me excited to do more. Originally, I had wanted to add two more characters, one carrying a spear instead of a sword (which I could duplicate as my front liners), and a standard bearer to put in back. I get a week off from homework in this class before our next assignment, so I may take the time to try that if my other assignments don't get in the way.

If anyone knows of an easy way to post Quicktime videos online for other people to access and watch easily, let me know. I'd love to put my work up for all of you to see.

My Observation Drawing project has been coming along nicely. I had to build a room from my childhood, something to which I had attached memories or significance to, which I would then make drawings based on. I chose the living room from my parents' old house in Crestline, the Altdorf house. I wasn't exactly surprised that the details of the room came back so vividly to me, but I'm still fascinated by how memory works. Things I hadn't thought of in years came back to me as I drew and built this room out of cardboard, masking tape, and mylar transparencies. I listened to my "Twin Peaks" soundtrack and drew tonal perspective drawings with charcoal...it was very nice, and brought back many pleasant memories.

My Writing class has been going well; I've had many opportunities to further develop characters and situations from stories I've tinkered with on and off over the last few years.

Comics class is...well, it's good, but I'm still grappling with the things I need to become better at. The main problem I'm having is being slow to produce my work. If I ever plan to work professionally in the comics industry, I need to get my page rate up. Granted, in that situation I wouldn't have other classes and homework assignments to worry about, but I want to get better than I am now. Our last assignment was three pages, tightly pencilled, based on a short story that we had to convert into comics format. Our new assignment is the same sort of thing, but six pages. Due in a week.

Christina mentioned the idea of me running a D&D game when Marilyn and I came out to visit over Christmas. I must admit that I'm thrilled by the idea, really. So here's what I'm thinking about: My first consideration was in regards to setting. I have a number of settings to choose from, but I'm currently leaning toward one in particular. I'm leaning toward a setting put forth in GURPS Atlantis - The Orichalcum Age. The time is Earth's distant past, when Atlantis is the dominant military power in the Mediterranean, almost a proto-Roman Empire. While the rest of the world dwells in Tool Age or near-Bronze Age technology, the Atlanteans have the advantage of the magical mineral known as orichalcum, which they use to make their weaponry, armor, and defenses. The Atlanteans are ruled by the descendants of Cleito and Poseidon; ten princes, one of whom has been named Emperor. Their divine lineage grants them the power of sorcery... Greek myth plus Robert E. Howard's Hyborea plus some D&Disms.

Now, if people would prefer to play a more standard D&D-style setting, something like Middle-Earth or Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms or Mythic Europe, let me know now, so I can switch gears. Otherwise, I've already had ideas for pregenerated characters, and I should have enough that everyone would get a choice of what kind of character to play. To give you some idea, thus far I've got an Atlantean nobleman (Sorceror), an Amazon warrior (Fighter), a Pelasgaean [Mycanaean/Greek] bulldancer (Monk/Rogue), a Tamoanchan Jaguar Warrior (Fighter or Barbarian), a priest of Poseidon (Cleric)... Hopefully that means something to somebody reading this; it makes plenty of sense to me.

Okay, I've got to go. Give me your thoughts and preferences, would you?

This entry was posted on Friday, September 30, 2005 at Friday, September 30, 2005 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

10 comments

I trust you, man. I must admit that in the hands of any other GM, terms like "jaguar warrior" and "Amazon" would give me the willies, but I figure you know what you're about. I don't know Robert E. Howard so I'm having a hard time imagining the setting, but I know it will be hip.

If I had to choose one of the others, I'm always up for Mythic Europe or Middle Earth.

On the murder party front--is this something you and your charming wife would really like to do and will have time for? I only ask because I will enjoy the process immensely but it will require some thought and effort. I want to make sure that it's to your liking and desire. Also, can't your wife use the Campaign costumes she's accumulated as well as you can?

Let me know, kemosabe.

7:00 PM

Erm... perhaps I should rephrase that last bit. What I meant was, "Can't Marilyn use her costumes just as well as you could use your costumes?

I was not at all attempting to imply that you could wear her costumes as well as she does. Or that I would in any circumstances want you to try.

10:00 PM

If we do the Atlantis thing I want to be a bulldancer just like Kharis! :) Can I have mad healing skills with that? Bullhorns can be hard on the body.

RE: Murder Party
1. None of my costumes (all 2 of them) fit me anymore, I'm too damn fat.

2. I don't mean to be a pooper, but this is my vacation time...and if I'm going to see people I haven't seen in eons I'd rather spend time with them being myself. So, unless there's a way to do it in my normal clothes and everyone can be themselves...

2:00 PM

Hey Devin - send me the quicktime in email (chris.slater@gmail.com) and I'll post it on my web server. Then you can just link to it...

9:32 AM

Cool - I'll send those out to you this week, Chris.

1:04 PM

Marilyn, I've spent lots of time with these guys. Trust me - you're much better off hanging out with "Krondor the Warrior King" and "Achmid the halfling rogue" than Mike and Dan.

Much better.

4:47 PM

Chris,

That's probably true.

10:19 AM

*perk* Gaming?

Himself and I are more than willing to game while we're there - D&D or otherwise.

Marilyn - costumes are totally not a problem, we can arrange if necessary. :)

6:49 PM

Laura, I think the murder party thing is off so's we can converse as ourselves. Gracias for the offer, though.

9:31 PM

*nod* Hence the "if necessary". I didn't think it would happen, but figured I'd throw it out there just in case. :)

7:07 PM

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