I got one of those emailed quiz/survey things from a friend and one of the questions was : "What's on your desktop right now ?"
Ok, I'll play...
This is my current desktop picture:
(click on any of the images to see them at a larger size)
An absolutely gorgeous image from the MGM cartoon "Mouse in Manhattan" a cartoon which spotlights Jerry the mouse , of the team "Tom & Jerry" , wherein Jerry essentially takes a role that would be played by Gene Kelly if it were a live-action MGM film. Very different from the usual Tom & Jerry formula. I forget where I found this image ; on someone else's blog , there were several MGM cartoon layouts and backgrounds shown .
Here's what else is on my computer right now : I'm having a ball learning to work with a program called Mirage, from Bauhaus Software. Mirage is a 2-D animation program that allows the animator to draw directly into the program, frame by frame, more or less replicating the traditional hand-drawn animation experience in a digital environment. The drawing tools are some of the best I've used. They can be customized to feel something like your favorite pencil or pen. It's not exactly the same as drawing on paper, but it's pretty darn close and not at all difficult to get used to.
I love that it allows me to draw naturally and not feel like my line is getting "digitized" or changed by the program. You can animate in full screen mode as shown in the first image, with ability to zoom in and out on the drawing (shown zoomed in here); you can access the toolbars when needed by a simple keystroke to toggle the toolbars on and off. (see next image showing the expanded toolbars) .
I like that Mirage allows the user to customize the pencil and pen tools to be anything from a very thin , fine black line for clean up , to something resembling a big ,soft Prismacolor for roughs :
I don't know how well the texture shows up in the posted images, but look at this close-up screen grab showing the "light blue prismacolor" pencil used for roughing-in drawings. Does this look like a computer line to you ?
The above images were all drawn at home , using my regular old Wacom Intous 2 tablet,but let me tell you, Mirage really takes off when used with a Wacom Cintiq tablet. I have a Cintiq at work and using it has totally sold me on wanting to buy one for my own use at home .
I'm just now starting to work with Mirage in earnest again . I started messing around with it when I purchased it last year, then other things got in the way and I didn't do much with it . Now I'm back at it and really excited by the possiblities. Mirage is a 2-D animation studio in a single software. Design, storyboard, animate, clean-up, color, paint backgrounds, composite all in Mirage. When I finally get some finished animation tests done (out of several I've started, then abandoned... I'm an expert procrastinator if I don't have a deadline looming over me) I'll post them here. If I'm brave enough I'll blog my re-learning curve on rough animation. I'm very out of practice after the years of doing clean up. They are two different disciplines. (clean up vs. rough animation). One person who seems to have really mastered animating in a classical style using Mirage is Rusty Mills. Check out this rough test animated using Mirage from a personal film that Rusty is currently working on :
Rusty Mills Rough Animation
(sorry , not sure where the sound went to on that clip)
Rusty is blogging the making of his film and he's active on the Mirage user forum on the Bauhaus Software site. He's making his film entirely with Mirage, animating on a tablet PC (the "Nomad" PC) on the train as he commutes to and from work ! I was leaning towards getting the Nomad tablet PC because of the portability (c'mon Apple : get us a tablet Macintosh !) , but I'm going to go with the Cintiq because of the larger work space.
By the way, check this out :
This is Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of "Dexter's Lab", "Samurai Jack", and the director of the Star Wars cartoon series "Clone Wars", doing layout/character posing for Clone Wars using a Cintiq mounted on a traditional animation disk . This looks like a first generation Cintiq (one of the 15" models) and with the newest version of Cintiq (21") it is not necessary to mount it like this on an animation disk, because the Cintiq turns 180º on the special stand which comes with it. However, I still think this looks cool and if I get a Cintiq I'd like to figure out a way to retro-fit it into my animation table , so the rotation unit is mounted inside the desk, with the Cintiq screen rotating flush with the top surface of the animation table.