Gonzales – Head Turn Test with Anime Studio 10

Oktober 11th, 2014

The character’s name is Gonzales. With the rat „Carla“ (see left sketch) he belongs to a landmine detection team I named „Team Bogota“ in which he is the bodyguard of Carla.
I started to develop a story with these characters – either for Comic or animation.
The idea is inspired by the following article:

Another Innovative Landmine Detection Method:
Cat and Rat Teams

In Columbia, there are over 100,000 hidden landmines.
Columbian police had been using rats to sniff out hidden landmines, as the rodents have an excellent sense of smell (their detection rate is 96%) and are light enough that they don’t set off the explosives. However, those working with the rats encountered a serious problem – the effectiveness of the trained rats was reduced by their fear of predation.
The landmine detecting rats were taught to freeze when they encountered a mine, but the rodents were too afraid of attack to stand still. To make them less fearful of common predators, police began pairing them with friendly cats. The cats wear claw shields, and the unlikely pairs play together and establish friendships, reducing the rats’ fear of predation.

Camera Lucida Drawings

Mai 19th, 2014

CameraLUCIDASelfie

In March I bought a Camera Lucida – mainly as drawing aid for my drawing pupils.
If you’re not familiar with this device:
The Camera Lucida is a light, portable device you clamp on a table. It has a long neck and a lens on top through which it is possible to see both the drawing object and the sketching paper and thus trace it on the paper.

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This optical drawing tool is about 400 years old and for years you could only get it as an expensive antique collectible.
David Hockney experimented with it and wrote about it in his Book „Secret Knowledge“, but lately it was rediscovered by some artists who produced some modern and affordable versions like the „NeoLucida“.

Years ago I had constructed a passably working copy of it myself, but back then found the reflected image too small and too hard to see, so I soon lost the interest to go on further.
But now I took the chance to buy one of the modern, new Camera Lucidas.
I tested it myself and encouraged my pupils to draw with it.

Interestingly I still found the reflected image on the paper quite small, but if you get out the mounted lens as high as possible you are able to fill a DIN A 4 paper quite well. To obtain a sufficient brightness of the reflected image, both – paper and object – should be lighted with the same value.
Bearing these preconditions in mind and with some practice and a lot, lot of patience you are able to produce great results. But though it helps you to trace an object perfectly it still is no guarantor for producing good drawings. In case of my drawing students it helped most of them to concentrate on line quality by not being forced to care too much about measuring and proportions. For skilled drawing artists I think it’s a booster…

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Camera Lucida Session with my drawing pupils

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Camera Lucida Session with my drawing pupils

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Setup for my Menzel Drawing

Menzel_Lucida

To produce this drawing I really had to force myself to absolute concentration. It’s a portrait of Adolf Menzel, one of my favorite old master drawing artists, drawn with a soft, waxy Derwent Pencil. When drawing him I tried to keep in mind his characteristic powerful carpenter pencil style. Although I’m sure that the master would have hated it that I used a drawing aid…

More Animations of the German Poets Project…

Januar 16th, 2014

And here is Irmgard Keun (‘Das kunstseidene Maedchen’) in the year 1940.
She is reading a newspaper announcing her own death. And as the Nazis suppose her to be dead she is taking a train back to Germany…

New Animations – The German Poets Project

Januar 15th, 2014

Here’s what I have done during the last three months of 2013:
- you might need a little patience for the Videos to appear -

Sample: Friedrich Schiller Animation
Angry Friedrich Schiller throwing a book…

I finished the Animation Series “Dichter Dran!” (for WDR) about six German poets. As there were:
Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, J. W. Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Heinrich Heine and Irmgard Keun.

When I started the animations I was still working with Flash.
But I had to realize that Flash pushed me to limits in this project: too inflexible was the program, too stiff the results…

So it soon became clear that I needed to enhance my usual technique (which is a mix of digital cutout animation and partial frame-by-frame animation) with the help of a better and more flexible program.
The final inspiration for the program that – hopefully – could do a better job for me, came from my collegue Alfred Neuwald, who had done some interesting, very smooth animations with a program called “Anime Studio” (by Smithmicro who also sells Manga Studio).

And although I normally would say that it’s no good idea to learn a new program while you’re in a running job, I made the decision to give Anime Studio a try.

Well, you can imagine it was a tough approach trying to learn and produce usable content the same time…
But in the end it was worth it. After the completion of Franz Kafka (Flash) and within Thomas Mann I completely switched to “Anime Studio Pro 9.5″.

Here are small Video samples of my favourite characters (the original sizes are 1920x1080px). I will show more samples soon…

Sample: Johann Wolfgang Goethe sitting in the Campagna, searching for ‘Tauris’

Sample: The aged Goethe realizing that ‘Tauris’ can’t be found…

(All artwork and animations by Heidi Kull)