Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

Happy 2009 from Niko Anesti on Vimeo.

15 whole seconds. Took me two years to crank this baby out.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Geoweasel channels on Youtube and Vimeo

I've put the first twelve Geoweasel episodes (The Dark Storm to Digital Infection) on their own channels on both Youtube and Vimeo. Originally, one of the reasons I was going to do this was to clear out space on the site by not actually having each Flash file on its own separate page and instead making them more accessible through these services. However, because I have still not found a way to convert files from Flash to standard video format, some of the results are less than desired. The only filetypes I can convert to without the video getting completely messed up or going out of sync are MS wmv avi and MS mpeg avi. The quality of the raw files is fine, and it's evident on Vimeo, but the videos do look grainy and JPEG-y on Youtube. The one thing that bothers me immensely thought is the loss of some frames, causing many animations to look weird or jumpy.
Maybe someday I'll actually get a Mac and be able to just publish the SWF directly as a .mov or .mpeg or whatever. But for now, I can't say I'll actually be using these services as a replacement, but rather just for promotion. I have to say though, I'm utterly terrible with promotion/distribution. Or I just have really bad luck with it, I don't know. Every time I've submitted a cartoon of mine to any type of community like these, or even animation-specific sites like Newgrounds, Aniboom, MyToons, etc., they never really get noticed or acknowledged. I tag them for searching, post them on forums and blogs, send them to people directly...all that kind of stuff, but not a whole lot happens. I get a few comments and some views in the first day or so and then never see anything come of it afterward and in the meantime, I watch other videos rise and get promoted even though we started off with an equal chance. I'm not expecting anything to come of any old episodes that I'm uploading; my mind's just kind of wandering.
Anyways, here are the pages so you can subscribe, add, embed, or whatever you'd like to do with them:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Almost there

I don't know the probability of this being out tonight considering it's almost 8:00 on Christmas Eve, but if not tonight, then it will probably be up tomorrow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CafePress vs MySoti...suggestions?

I've been eyeing MySoti for a while now as a place to produce the newest Geoweasel shirts over CafePress, but I really don't know a lot about how good their products actually are. I'm interested in MySoti for a few reasons, namely because they offer a better and larger selection of colors for shirts and they cost a bit less than CafePress. But how is the quality? I've had trouble with CafePress' colored ("dark") shirts before, mainly in the area of how the color of the actual image appears on the shirt. Here's a shirt I made with them a while back and a comparison of the colors in the original drawing and what I got:

Most things were significantly darkened except for the gray, red, and white (go figure). Does anybody know if the color changes are this drastic with MySoti? I understand that when printed, especially on a dark garment, the colors are going to change, and I don't mind if they do a tad, but this was ridiculous, and CafePress gave no warning about that. And I'm certainly not about to go and keep testing different designs with different colors on different shirts until I figure out what's "safe."
The only other reasons I haven't done shirts with MySoti yet is because I'm used to CafePress, and also, MySoti only does shirts. I do plan to have other items, and I don't want to have each item being sold from a different site. That'd be ridiculous and confusing. Anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thoughts on cartoons and life

Today, I finally got to see Random! Cartoons, which were amazing, by the way. Ten years ago, I sat on the same couch in front of the same TV watching its predecessor, Oh Yeah! Cartoons. That was one of the major turning points in my life because it was the first time that I had ever seen anything like that. It was the first time I realized that cartoons were not merely cranked out by drones in studios; they were made by "real" people. People who liked to draw, people who were funny, and people who shared the same interest in cartoons that I was beginning to have myself. And even though there was no way at the time for me to make my own cartoons, they were very inspiring to me. Many of them are among the best cartoons I have ever seen because they were fun to watch and you could tell that people had fun making them. It wasn't a job, but rather something they really enjoyed doing. That was what really turned my interest from just comics to all cartoons and animation because even though it wasn't possible at the time, I knew that I could do it someday in the future.

So it dawned on me that I'm here, ten years later, and now I actually know of some of the people who made or worked on these cartoons. Thanks to the internet, I've been able to watch a number of these shorts develop and I've even had the opportunity to know a few of the creators for several years, even before they got on board with Random! Cartoons. It's become much more personal because it's taken a step from cartoons being made by "real people" to cartoons being made by my friends, or even just people that I have followed and admired, and I'm blown away all over again. I truly am in awe. These cartoons may very well be inspiring kids in the same way that I was inspired a decade ago. I find that I'm writing this almost as if I was actually involved with these cartoons in some way, but I'm not; I'm just incredibly excited about it.

But I can't help but ask myself, why didn't I get involved? I didn't even really try. I thought about it, but what good is that? Thinking and doing are two totally different things, and I do too much of the former and not enough of the latter. It wasn't fear of rejection, I can safely say that. I would have loved to gone and just have been able to present a pitch. That would've been an awesome experience regardless of the outcome. And I had a couple friends who, unlike myself, got up off their asses and pursued it, and even though their pitches were ultimately rejected (multiple times in the case of one friend, I believe), but they were still grateful to even have the chance to go and do it. I was also only 15 or 16 at the time, but I don't think that was what really kept me from going for it.

Whatever the reason was, though, it's certainly related in some way to how I'm feeling now, and I why I haven't made a full cartoon in two years now. Sure, there were many times over the past two years where I really couldn't make any cartoons, like when I was having so many panic attacks, or when I spent a week in the hospital, but what about all the other time? What the hell have I been doing? Not a day goes by that I don't regret not taking initiative in any of these situations, and that is no exaggeration. If I had actually done something, I guarantee I'd be in a whole different position now. Who knows what I could've accomplished? I feel like the days are whizzing by now, and that I don't ever have time to do anything. But if I'm conscious of all this, why do I continue to just sit around? This lazy lifestyle that I adopted somewhere along the line needs to end.

It isn't my dream to be famous. It is, however, for my cartoons and my characters to be. That's not why I make cartoons, but it is something that I would hope to achieve someday, and I know I'll be doing what I love and doing it well. I know that no one's going to make this come true for me (which would be very boring anyway), and I know that I have to just simply make cartoons again. It's not like I don't enjoy doing it either, so there's no excuse.

With 2009 drawing nearer and nearer, I've decided that my goal next year is this: don't think about stuff, do stuff. And it's not only about making more cartoons either. I want to go out and meet more cartoonists and animators to build friendships and connections. That would probably build a lot of my confidence too, because there is literally no one around here that has interests remotely near mine. I need to take these chances to go to different cartoon events, like when I went to SVA in November 2007, the ASIFA screening for The Meth Minute this past June, and most recently, when I went to the Too Art for TV show last weekend. Those were the only times in my life where I didn't feel out of place, but rather around people I could relate to. I want to be able to work in an environment like that someday, where it's something I look forward to because it's something I love doing and the people around me love the same thing. That's never going to happen though if I don't start working.

I'm not entirely sure what the main point of all that was, but it's good to get it all in the open.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas cartoon soon!?

I really want to get this episode out, and even moreso after just making this flyer, hah. Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll have enough time to make it. My only concern is my eye surgery on Monday. I don't know what kind of recovery time I'm looking at for that, but apparently it's a pretty quick procedure so I will hopefully be back to work a day or two later.
And to think, two years ago, I was working on An Apple A Day, and that's still the newest episode. Maybe we'll get a Christmas miracle!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The new goes live

It's not anything to gawk at as there isn't a new cartoon up (yet), but I was tired of having a dead site, so it's up now. I still have to make some adjustments (the current "latest episode" image was like a placeholder) but for the most part, everything's there.
Now, as far as real...actual...content goes, hopefully my plans for the Christmassy episode will go well. My goal is to finish the script and any needed storyboards today, record stuff tomorrow and maybe start animating, but definitely start animating by Wednesday. Hopefully I'll finally have something new to show.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too Art for TV photos

So Charles and I got to check out Too Art for TV 3 yesterday. Very cool stuff there, and some types of things I wouldn't have even thought to see there. I thought it was mainly paintings and drawings, and I was even surprised (but very glad) to hear that there was some animation going to be there, but there were some cool sculptures and things like that there too. David Lipson's robots were very cool and definitely stood out to me, and the man himself even showed up while we were there, so we got to talk to him for a good while. Not many others were there while we were, probably because opening night was apparently a madhouse, hah. I've only seen a couple pictures from that, but I'm gonna check out their Facebook page for more. Anyway, it was an awesome trip, and I'm very glad I was able to go. Here are some of the photos I snapped while there. If you want to see them all, check out my Flickr page (which I desperately need to upgrade to a Pro account, apparently).

Various pieces from the show

Two of David Lipson's robots, Weston Radiohead (with a radio that worked really well actually!) and Colly.

A little sign under a TV that played several animations, including one of Ben Ross' Flying Pizza Kitty with music by Bobby Miller. You can watch the actual video here.

One of two paintings by Dagan Moriarty.

A couple of closeups from two huge pieces by Christy Karacas (one of the creators of Superjail)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too Art for TV on Saturday!

Thanks to the amazing generosity of my friend and fellow animation enthusiast Charles Kenny, I will be attending the third annual Too Art for TV exhibit in Brooklyn this Saturday, December 6. The last two years, I've only been able to see photos and blogs about the event from afar (along with many other similar shows), but finally I'll actually be able to see it all in person! This is the first of this type of show I'll be going to, so I'm pretty excited. I know a few people who will be there, but if you're going on the 6th as well, let me know!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Annies are coming!

The 2008 Annie Award nominations have been posted. And for the hell of it, here are some cartoons and people that I’m really rooting for:

Best Animated Short Subject
Hot Dog – Bill Plympton Studio

Best Animated Television Production
King of the Hill – 20th Century Fox TV

Best Animated Television Production Produced for Children
Underfist: Halloween Bash – Cartoon Network Studios

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Valerie Hadida “Igor” – Exodus Film Group

Character Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
Jorge Gutierrez – El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera “The Good, The Bad, The Tigre” – Nickelodeon

Directing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
Craig McCracken, Rob Renzetti - Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Destination Imagination” – Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
Dan Krall – Chowder “The Heavy Sleeper” – Cartoon Network Studios

Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
Butch Hartman – Fairly OddParents “Mission: Responsible” – Nickelodeon

Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
Dwight Schultz – Voice of Mung Daal – Chowder “Apprentice Games” – Cartoon Network Studios

Writing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form
Scott Kreamer – El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera “Mustache Love” – Nickelodeon