My submission for the Otacute Mascot contest is complete, but it seems one of the criteria for selection is the number of comments my submission gets, so please help me out and comment on it here: http://blog.otacute.com/?p=2530
(There have been reports of otacute’s site having problems. If it fails to submit the first time, try again right away as it seems to work the second or third time)
A video of her being created. I started off using Sai for the sketch and line art, followed by coloring in Photoshop.
I tried a using the black and white shading and then adding color value to it after. The technique is interesting, and creates a very fast work flow, since you’re not concentrating on color while you’re shading. But it does present its own set of problems.
Firstly, all my tone work is on a single layer, so if I want to affect a certain area (say skin), I have to create a mask for it. Though admittedly, this is somewhat resolved since adding a color layer can work as a selection mask anyway.
Secondly, sometimes, tonal values don’t translate well once color is added to it. There’s much to be said about creating tone through color and saturation. When a simple color wash is applied to a tone, it tends to still look “flat”. Skin for example, contains several pigments, including purples, browns, pinks, yellows and more, depending on the lighting too. Admittedly, this can be alleviated a little bit by applying multiple colors to it, but it’s still not nearly as accurate, since the tone will affect the way the color appears.
I think that this tonal value with color layers technique is more suited to painter-style works as opposed to anime works, because with anime styles, the colors and contrast are very deliberately set.
When I created Okyuu-Chan, I decided that I really wanted to push that Otacute sells Japanese merchandise (not just figures). I figured a Japanese kimono would illustrate that. I had thought about a store clerk, or a delivery girl, but that’s been overdone in my opinion, and would fit any online retail store, really.
I had also thought about the cyber-online character or some variant, but it’s so… generic and meaningless. In all honesty, a kimono girl is far from original in and of itself too, but it is just a costume, and only a part of the whole.
The main attraction with Okyuu-Chan is the halo, and sakura blossom wings. The halo is obviously the Otacute logo itself, and the wings add a sort of surrealistic aura about her. See? One doesn’t have to be a cyber-girl to have a surrealistic look. 😛
Anyway, enough about that. Go leave me a comment here, and support Okyuu-Chan!
Please help her reach Mascot Status!
So here’s the part of the blog post that I’m just gonna ramble about my life.
The last week or so has been a very different week for me. Typically, I get up in the morning, and I’m working on my computer pretty much until the end of the day. I cook dinner, wife gets home, and then we spend some time together, or I go back on the computer.
Instead, the whole of last week, I was reading a book called 4hr Work Week by Tim Ferris. Even if the concept of working only 4hrs a week seems ludicrous, some of the ideas in there for optimizing your life seem incredibly helpful.
One of the most important points I’ve come across is the 80/20 rule. Basically it’s 80% of the effect is caused by 20% of the source. Example: 80% of your grief comes from 20% of your clients. 80% of your output comes from 20% of your productivity, and so on and so on. Sometimes, that ratio is even greater. Musashi (The Book of Five Rings ) once said:
“Do not spend time on wasteful activities.”
Seeing that parallel has made me take a closer look at my own life and figure out what is working and what isn’t. I know one thing is for sure, blogging and playing video games would be considered “wasteful activities” on a certain level. But as the saying goes, “All work and no play…”. What I do need is to find a balance that works better for me, and my sanity.
I’ve been reading several other books here and there (not within the week no), and I’ve been drawing several parallels between all of them, including the above mentioned, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli,Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! by Scott Adams. Most of the parallels involve zen, self-management, and people management. I highly recommend them, especially Book of Five Rings.
Speaking of games, I have been playing quite a bit of games lately. I had finally finished Sakura Wars V, and I do intend to blog about some of the amusing things about it. Right after it, I finished Heavy Rain. Great game, great mechanics, and great elements for storytelling, but all that potential was taken down by incredibly terrible story writing. You’d have thought they would learn their lesson from Indigo Prophecy (AKA Fahrenheit in Europe). The premise is sound, the gameplay was great (as an interactive movie, this is THE BEST), but damn that writer is terrible. Still, I admit that it was fun to play. It gripped me long enough to play until 4am one night.
My toaster oven broke down. Actually quite a while ago. I was going to replace it, but never got around to it, because it still worked as a toaster. Just the oven function refused to work. I found that if I wanted to heat up something simple, like an egg tart, just using the toast function seemed to work okay. Anything bigger and I have to use the oven.
Some may say “Why have a toaster oven when you have an oven already?” Well, when you’re living as a family of two, you don’t make a lot of big things. Typically, the toaster oven is more than sufficient, though probably not as tasty.
So I continued to use this crippled toaster until one day, I decided “I’ve had ENOUGH!” and began to swear. Well, not really, but it’s a segue into the actual toaster oven I ended up buying:
I’d like to believe that I didn’t buy this toaster oven just because Gordon Ramsay’s face is on it. I’m usually not a sucker for brands, especially when it’s of someone who’s entire livelihood involves swearing and undermining poor defenseless people on television.
I bought this oven because it looks cooler than the one I currently own (you can sorta see it in the back), and it’s got these wicked neat LED lights on the knobs. See? I’m into aesthetics. Plus the price seemed reasonable. Does it work well? I don’t know yet. But from where I come from (Canada) customers can return products back to the store simply because they didn’t like it. Ah, the power…
It’s been a nice couple of days outside, and I took advantage of it yesterday by going up a mountain to take some pix. I was practicing doing HDRI and such, since I started reading a book about HDRI. Goodness I definitely learned a lot about aperture, exposure, ISO, and such. But not quite enough about HDRI itself.
Since I’m still lacking in skill to do HDRI, this shot is only a single exposure, unfortunately. But my point is, it was a nice day. And it’s equally nice today! Oooh the sounds of an ice cream truck! I should be outside right now! Seeya!