Sunday, January 5, 2020

Welcome to the 2020s - A Look Back at 2019

Hi everyone, it's once again time for my annual New Year's post. We've officially entered a the 2020s and we don't even have flying cars yet! Not exactly how I pictured it back as a kid, but there are still plenty of cool things going on to be excited about. It's hard to re-examine the 2010s as a whole because there was just so much that happened during this decade. Crazy to think that in 2010 I was still an inexperienced college student who had barely even ventured far beyond the confines of Ohio. Since then I've started a career in 3D animation, attended tons of conferences around the country, traveled to many different cities to teach students, and even made my way to Japan. It's been a great 10 years and I'm even more excited about the next 10!

Focusing in on 2019 though, I had a few goals that I set for myself and I'm pretty happy with how much of those I accomplished. Let's take a look at the breakdown.

2019 Goals Review

Draw more personal illustrations
I didn't really do a great job at this one. I did some drawings throughout the year and even did a few traditional watercolor pieces, but I think the overall frequency was a bit less than some past years.

Continue studying Japanese
This one has been pretty successful. I have continued learning a lot of Japanese grammar and vocabulary and I've managed to brush up on it fairly frequently. I mainly use the app LingoDeer and to date I have completed 50 modules which consist of 137 lessons in total. I've still got a long way to go and probably couldn't even hold a conversation with a Japanese pre-schooler yet. But I'm steadily making progress. Onto kanji in 2020!

Take the stairs more often than the elevator
This goal has been a huge success! I originally wanted to take the 5 flights of stairs at work 3 days a week but instead I managed to take them nearly every day of the year! I took the stairs going down 100% of the time and of the 213 work days in 2019, I climbed them 197 of them, or 92% of the time (the original goal was 51%). That's only 16 days of using the elevator, and nearly half of them came in January when I was slightly less committed to the idea of just doing it every day. Honestly, at this point it has just become second nature to avoid the elevator. Aside from days where I'm sick or carrying something heavy, I plan to continue taking the stairs all through 2020 as well.

Vegetarian week
Another goal that I one-upped the original plan. Instead of spending a week as a vegetarian, I took it one step further and went full vegan. It was a fun challenge and I discovered a lot of tasty new recipes. I wrote up a post with lots of pictures over on my travel blog. I definitely want to do this one again in 2020 and I'm hoping to find some fun way to add another spin on it.

All in all, I'd say it was a very successful year. I might not have done anything extraordinary in terms of art skills, but I went above and beyond on some of the other life goals so I feel pretty accomplished overall. In addition to continuing on the stairs and vegetarian challenges from this past year, my biggest New Year's resolution for 2020 will be learning Kanji. I still have a few more modules to go in LingoDeer until I reach level 2, but as soon as I hit that level I plan to jump right into studying kanji characters. I'm also hoping to be better about getting a full night of rest. It's far too often that I go into work on only 5 or 6 hours of sleep and that will definitely catch up on me sooner or later. That's why in 2020 I want to get more sleep. Not setting any strict rules or tangible goals on this one, but it's a mantra that I will keep in mind throughout the year.

So... 2020 goals: Learn Kanji and Get More Sleep. I think that sounds pretty reasonable.

Before I wrap up this post, I want to share a few pieces of artwork I completed in 2019 (this is supposed to be an art blog after all!). Most of them were simple sketches or concept pieces for The Nays, but I also did 2 different watercolor pieces. Here are some of the various things that I worked on this year:

2019 Art Summary

Starting in January, I took part in my 6th Global Game Jam. My sister and I had one weekend to create a game centered around the theme "Home." Naturally we decided to base it on The Nays and we came up with a pretty cool little project. It's honestly probably our best one yet. Head on over to our page if you're interested in giving it a try.

These were some of the backgrounds that I drew for our GGJ game. Not bad considering I did a few of these after 36 hours of no sleep!

This was the second of my ink and watercolor drawings of the year (you can see the first in a previous post on this blog). I backed the fabulous crowdfunded project Indivisible and had a great time playing the game when it finally released a few months ago. This is my favorite character from the game, a small little botanist with his trusty living turnip buddy. It's got some really unique character designs!

I bought a brand new water color set for this project. It definitely has a lot more colors than my previous one so I didn't have to do as much color mixing. It's nice to step away from the computer and do some art on paper every now and then.

Just a quick little doodle. I re-read the Scott Pilgrim comics earlier this year and felt like replicating one of the covers with my characters Shaw and Megumi instead of Scott and Ramona. Nothing crazy but it's always fun emulating other unique art styles.

This is just a few random drawings that seemed too minor to get posted on their own. The three on the left are character concepts (One-Sixteenth the cyborg, Punchy and his new ninja outfit, and Copit the Zargo family limo driver). The next two are more major characters from The Nays, Summer and Chozu. That one was from an activity that involved drawing familiar characters in different outfits than they usually wear. These are the kind of things I had in mind when I wanted to do more personal drawings, so I definitely need to do more in 2020!

Shifting gears a bit, this is a 3D character from a game I worked on with the crew at Endless Terminal. This creepy looking creature is called a NasNas and it's one of the first enemies you see in the game. Planning this out for rigging and animation was certainly a challenge because it has such different anatomy from real-world animals. It is fully rigged and game ready though, so I stuck with it through the whole character pipeline.

Here's a quick turn-table of the NasNas from different angles. If you're curious about the game, be sure to check out Endless Terminal on social media. They're posting lots of progress shots and scheduled work streams, and the game should be pretty cool once it all comes together.

This was a short animation that I created for my sister's birthday called Chozu Versus Cimc. As you can likely infer from the "remastered" in the title, this is a remake of an animation I made a very long time ago. Like... "back when I still drew things with a mouse" long time ago. Thankfully I think this version looks quite a bit better than the original.

This was new to the remastered version. I created a simple 3D version of Chozu's house and rendered in C4D using the toon shader. Most of it has really simple geometry but creating it in 3D allowed me to do some fun camera rotations without having to draw so many background frames.

Speaking of animation remakes, this is a scene from my big project Nays 2018. One of my favorite animations that I've ever created was a 5+ minute one called Nays 2008 (which I ironically didn't actually finish until 2009, hence why I let the remake spill over into 2019 for the 10 year anniversary). I didn't have the time to fully remake every single scene shot-for-shot, but I gave the visuals a much improved overhaul.

I used tons more real world references and tried to make the backgrounds a lot more interesting than the original. I'm really happy with how some of these shots came out and I'm very excited to post some comparisons.

I want to go further in-depth with the comparison analysis though, so I'm going to save that for a full post of its own some time in the coming month. Ideally I'll edit a video cut so both animations can be watched side-by-side simultaneously. Overall, this animation was definitely the most elaborate project of the year for me, so I want to do it proper justice with a full blog post.

And with that, my 2019 review post comes to a close. I felt like I was kind of inactive art-wise, but when going through and gathering things for this post, it turns out I did a bit more than I realized. In a perfect world I would post these things more frequently throughout the year, but I've grown to like this year-long recap approach. Maybe 2020 will bring a few more posts on this blog than past years. Either way, thanks as always for reading this far and I hope you have a wonderful year/decade. Until next time... Adios!

No comments:

Post a Comment