Somewhere between Manga and Anime, Manga 2.5 is following in the footsteps of Marvel and others, producing Motion Comics of popular Manga. They start by getting a contract to produce a popular Manga, then scan the whole thing in. They remove the dialog balloons and replace them with Japanese voice actors and English subtitles. Since they are embedding audio they also add sound effects as appropriate. The panels or frames are broken apart and colored, and limited animation in the style known as Motion Comics are added. The end result is something that you watch happen rather than read, for a lot less money then it takes to create a real animation or anime.
It is an interesting art form, and I do like the stuff produced by Marvel a lot. So far all I have seen of this group are a few trailers, but it has the potential to be quite good. If you were interested in trying your hand at this kind of thing, Smith Micro has an excellent software suite for a reasonable price with Motion Artist. It has a bit of a learning curve, but the software lets you be creative while automating a lot of the tasks; for instance you can set up the key frames and it automatically generates all the tween frames that get you from one key frame to the next. Trust me when I say having to animate each and every frame yourself gets tedious real fast, whether at 24 frames/second (fps) for film or 29 fps for TV, whereas you might have 4 to 6 key frames per second. Another very useful function is having the mouth layers pre-built for speech with a module that automates building the phonem map out of your imported MP3 file. Lip sync is about the hardest kind of animation to do, from my perspective, all that fiddly stuff should really be done by the computer anyways.
I continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and wanted to create my own images to use as wallpaper, icons, buttons, and other applications. For this set, my inspiration was an art form developed somewhere between 1880 and WWII, where they only had the chemical set to capture black and white photographs. They would print them out at the highest resolution they could manage, which usually made the grain of the film stock on the negatives obvious (kind of the 1930s version of pixelation), and then hand paint the prints to create their own version of classic portrait paintings. The results were often quite attractive, in a paint-outside-the-lines kind of way, and it was interesting to see which areas they decided to color and what they left black and white, showing what they thought was important within the image. So here are a few pictures I created in that style celebrating the first Doctor, and I will probably share a few more over the next week or two that celebrate other Doctors.
This is almost scary to contemplate; Nimoy, Stewart, and McKellem partied at Coney Island together, and took this photo. Gandalph hanging out with Picard and Spock? The mind boggles, and now I have a burning curiosity to know just which rides they went for. Thanks to Katee Sackhoff for the heads up on this one.
This is the week we get to see the newest installment in the Riddick franchise, and it looks like it will be quite the ride. This is either the 3rd or 4th film in the series, depending on whether you count the animated short that was released direct to DVD. Vin Diesel is still Riddick, with Katey Sackhoff and Karl Urban along for the party this time.
Jackie Chan reprises his roll as Drunken Master all over Edo era Edo, Japan (they changed the name to Tokyo a few hundred years ago, thus ending the Edo Period) in a short film for Kirin Beer. He spends the film training his young friends to fight and drinking beer, then watching them fight while drinking beer. Until his male protegee is defeated, at which point he beats the crud out of the leader of the opposition, of course. This short film is in Japanese, and you can tell the difference between Jackie saying a phrase in Nihongo (the actual name of the Japanese language) and a voice actor being dubbed over him but trust me when I say you will not have any problem following the action. Everyone knows about Japanese Sake, or Rice Wine, but Japan also brews some of the best beers in the world, and Kirin happens to be my personal favorite, so I am not surprised they put this project together. Go ahead and watch, it is just 7 minutes of silly fun.
As the 50th anniversary continues, the BBC are just about to launch a new special… The 4th Doctor. Tom Baker is featured for this round, with a series of quotes. The quote out of that set I particularly like:
The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
I suspect the Tom Baker special will be available soon, and I can’t wait to watch it. Everything they have put out for the 50th year celebration so far has been a real treat, I can’t wait for what comes next!