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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Recap of Horse Animation Practice So Far

Horse animation by BlackUniGryphon (Kandice):

Heidi doesn't have any quadroped animation walk cycles published, but I know she was working on some.  

It's important to do quite a bit of practice for more walk cycles, and a lot more anatomy. I know human anatomy might seem unrelated, but Life Drawing actually improves skills and proportions quite a bit because it's helps hand-eye-coordination.

Update: Recap of Stuff

Back in August tons of things went down, some really good, and other very bad, including terrorism and hackers. (long story) But, I'm also working on an Independent Film, and some stuff went down in September which made me the new DP.

There's a Recap of stuff since Summer until now on my main art blog HERE, because I actually DID NOT KNOW until about a 1 1/2 week before classes started if I was still going back to UMASS Boston.

We did actually manage to do some animated bits for the animated short to learn Adobe Animate.

The short is called "Maple Bacon" and we'd recorded most of the audio in the Summer.

Here's the Animattics:

My first attempt at animating in Adobe Animate CC:

A Quick animation I did in Adobe Animate CC of Ancient Greek Art:

Some of Heidi's animation done in various Animation programs after studying from materials by legendary animator Richard Williams:

Experiments in Adobe After Effects (effects animation experiments):

I would like to resume working on "Maple Bacon" this month, hopefully starting this week, and hopefully wrap that up by next month. It will ONLY be produced in the rough Black & White. 

I should also expect to publish the storyboards as well by next month. 

I will, however, begin editing on the film I've been promoted to Director of Photography on this month and next month as well, "The Holy Maple Tree". I almost went to the Producer's house tonight, but I'm still recovering from illness and UMASS Finals. I also have an Art History Exam on the 19th early in the morning. 

I will most likely continue my work study job in biology, but I am no longer enrolled in ANY classes at UMASS, but I am still technically a Matriculated Student, and therefore quakify for grants, scholarships, and other benefits. I might still try to start the "Life Drawing" Student run club at UMASS as well.... not sure yet... and no promises right now.

And, I still want to spend more time rigorously practicing walk cycles, run cycles, and Life Drawings.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Updates: Horse, Animation Related, n More

A number of things happened since I'd last Posted in Mid June.

I was testing out a number of animation programs. I still haven't done one using "Animation Paper"  (Open Source) yet. But, I did try OpenToonz, and Toon Boom's new Harmony (Advanced version).

It's crucial that my daughter & I try out different stuff, and really LEARN things, hone programs, skills, techniques, etc.

Heidi also did some horse run cycles, but she lost them, somehow.

Here's the First attempt at a Horse WALKING Cycle done in Studio Ghibli's OpenToonz:

Honestly, I found that OpenToonz was often backwards feeling, was confusing, and I would like the experience to driving your entire life in a American cars, then suddenly driving a Honda, and being completely lost. Also, I didn't like the way it drew, or interacted with the WACOM, and the RAM.

I referenced this cycle from a graphic found on Google Images.

The 2nd animation I did was in Toon Boom's Harmony (Advanced version):

If i can be frank about this, I must say that I LOVE Toon Boom! I also LOVED Toon Boom's new Harmony. But, my trial version ran out. Honestly, AFTER the first 2 days of using Toon Boom's Harmony I WANTED TO BUY IT! But, when I saw the prices, I was very unhappy about it, and according to what I read, ONLY the Premium version had audio.

Oddly, AFTER the trial version was about to run out, Toon Boom's sale's rep e-mailed me! They ACTUALLY asked me what I thought about it. WOW! So, I emailed them, and told them my honest thoughts and feelings, because I just didn't see the logic in buying it UNLESS it had audio, but ONLY the Premium version had audio according to the specs on the website, and it was almost $900 for a FULL YEAR SUBSCRIPTION on the website. The programming is SUPER. But, I'd already paid for Adobe's Creative Cloud, and is has an animation program on it...

Well, my daughter has been playing, learning, and using Adobe's Animation program (used to be Macromedia's Flash back in the day, but times change) so we decided to learn each other's styles, and make a simple animated short together, and we've been developing that since yesterday. I know everyone thinks I'm being stubborn, because I kinda hate Flash. But, I figured, well, I SHOULD AT LEAST TRY. i really gave it the ol' college try with OpenToonz and eventually just had to give it up.

Here's Some of my daughter's recent Adobe Animation work:

Here's a collaboration one she did with her friend:

Needless to say, she managed to get Adobe to do good stuff... so, that's why we decided to move forward with doing a simple project in Adobe's Animation program.

But, THEN, I got a call from Toon Boom in Canada. We talked, and they offered me a number of deals, including using audio in the Basic Essentials HARMONY version if I wanted it, but even offered me a better deal for PREMIUM, and even gave me options for permanent licencing. They sent me a form, and I was totally blown away by the offers. WOW!

Anyways, I'm STILL going to move forward and try to learn Adobe's Animation/Flash program anyway. I'm a Grumpy Gus over it, but I did pay for Adobe CC, and maybe I just need to get over myself. But, I SOOOOO WANT TOON BOOM HARMONY!

I actually STILL kept researching my Horse walk cycle stuff, and on a LUCKY ACCIDENT Google/YouTube recommended me EXACTLY what  I was looking for. I actually borrowed an animation book by Richard Williams, which is incredibly good, very technical, yet breaks a lot things down. But, I couldn't quite find what I needed SPECIFICALLY for a horse walk cycle. I'd wanted to know EXACTLY when the horse bobs the head, the tail, when the hips & shoulders move up 7 down, and the timing... and I was trying so hard, on my own to figure it out.

As, much as I loved Muybridge stuff, it doesn't actually help with those key fundamentals, and many hand drawn horse walk cycles are done by artists whom don;t actually specialize in horse anatomy, so it's often wonky. Also, I want to understand the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES or THEORY of the timing, much like drawing in shading & lighting, or color theory... but the applied theory of the bio-mechanics of a horse walking. SPECIFICALLY walking and NOT running, trotting, or galloping. Mostly only you will find more run cycles for a horse than walking. So, that makes it a puzzle, a challenge. Something to find out, and not much exists open source, Creative Commons, or free on the net anymore.

Remember that lucky accidental video I found, which I mentioned 2 paragraphs above? Well, not only was it a lucky find of a horse walk cycle being broken down, and ALL of the fundamental principles and theory, BUT IT WAS BY RICHARD WILLIAMS HIMSELF, AND he explains WHEN to bob the head, and WHEN the shoulders and hips go up! I had ALSO been wanting to find stuff to better help me with timing and spacing, and he did that as well!

So, I will share those with you here:

This "Timing and Spacing" video is SO GOOD! The way in which it's demonstrated is perfect! There are so many principles, techniques, and more which are NOT taught in animation schools. In fact, I NEVER most of these things that are in the video in ANY of the schools I PAID to go to.

THANK YOU, Mr. Williams for PRESERVING this knowledge and passing it on! 

I am SO MUCH more motivated in furthering my self studies in horse walk cycles for my film than I was yesterday. In fact, I would like to double down and further VOW that I will use my own knowledge in this process and publish it FOR FREE for you guys to FURTHER BREAK THIS STUFF DOWN.

If you would like to see the work that my daughter & I have started for the character designs for a simple animation short using Adobe's Animation program, I posted some to Instagram:

We are mostly going with my daughter's designs for the characters. We're basing the characters on annoying experiences in our recent life. 

On a side note, I also got some promotions on a film I've been working on (The Holy Maple Tree). Usually I'm an Audio P.A. on the film, but I also set-up, and close-out the film sets. I also ended up in a role in the film over a month ago, and this weekend. But, I also got promoted as a Video Editor, but Also I am doing the television graphics for a key scene. I don't own the rights to the film, so I can't show all the graphics because of spoilers, but I CAN show some pieces that the Producer has already published publicly. 

I can show u guys this #flames #fire #animation from #AdobeAfterEffects but I can't show you the more developed final versions because it's spoilers for the #film. And I don't own the rights to that film, it's my very good friend's film. I'm also shooting tomorrow & Sunday again. I used this with #nesting technique which is basic to Adobe #AfterEffects. I painted everything by hand using my #WACOM in #AdobePhoshopCC and based my #digitalpainting on actual flame photography references. This is actually NOT intended to look realistic tho', but stylized, and exaggerated. I actually really like it tho', and could see myself using a similar technique in the future for #EffectsAnimation on traditional animation projects which I actually would want to look like art rather than too realistic. #cycleanimation #animator #graphics #computergraphics #motiongraphics
A post shared by Kandice Kathleen Zimbleman 任思麒 (@blackunigryphon) on

That was actually a lot of work to research, create from scratch, but I also did scenery graphics, motion graphics. Event the texts had to be researched, composed, and I had to create my own chrome gradient. As simple as that sounds it took hours to get it right, or days. Some details took HOURS to be satisfied with. Generally, the director wanted cheesy 90s graphics, but I often found a lot of 80s stuff that were similar to what we wanted. 

I'd reserved video games graphics, VHS graphics, old access TV graphics, old films, TV shows, and music videos. Lots of fun! 

I'm Still figuring it out, and it takes time to tweak with green screen and color keying. Still learning and figuring it all out. 

On a Final NOTE, my daughter & I will be down in Philadelphia for a WEEK starting on Monday. We're visiting my father, but probably will end up in New Jersey ALSO.

We're still running our Fundraiser on GOFundMe, so if you would like to help us out, we'd be super grateful!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Recent Qilin Character Design Sketches 002 UNICORNS


Well, here were the recent character design sketches I did last week. They came up out of nowhere. I'm feeling much better about my sketching ability. It's still not at the level I would prefer, but you just gotta go through it to get to it!

I DID, however, reference 1 loosely from the late artist Ken Hultgren, whom was a lead artist whom worked on Bambi (Disney).

I still wanted, very much to stick with these designs/characters to be as simplified as possible... but, some of my artistic brain went a bit beyond it. I'm really working on trying to maintain the simplified feel. I suppose I don;t mind too much if it gets a bit Disney-ish, since they're the top standard for traditional animation, but trying to stay away from too many details like a comic book, or fine art. When doing poses like the ones I did, I wasn't sure yet how to think in simplified forms, and some of them went a bit anatomical. I have mixed feeling about that, because I don't want too much realism.

Anyways, it's a long process of development. I'm only in the pre production phase which means, lots or development, designing, practicing, experimenting, getting to know the characters, and so on. That also includes learning programs, timing, animation experimentation.

Many of THESE are the Dujiao Qilin or UNICORN Qilin.

I am also considering adding Chinese Dragons (called "Long") and other kinds of Chinese Unicorns, which are NOT Qilin.

獨角麒麟 Dujiao Qilin (Unicorns):

麒麟Typical Qilin:



It's important to note that altho' there are MANY MANY versions of Qilin for thousands of years, their heads are supposed to typically be more DRAGON LIKE. Dragons have their eyes set in the FRONT of their heads, with binocular vision like all typical predator skulls/heads.

Even tho' it's THE MOST common shape for dragons of all types by most artists (especially on the internet of whom I'm friends with countless)  we generally use a "basic horse shape head" however, we set the eyes NOT LIKE A HORSE. Horses are Herbivores (plant eaters) and have their eyes set on the sides of their heads to have wider vision, including behind themselves.

Altho' these are mythical creatures, it's important to understand biology & anatomy of live creatures, or even prehistoric ones, like dinosaurs.

The majority of my Qilin are equine or deer-like which is very common throughout most Chinese Dynasties. But, they also had bulky versions that were more oxen-like with bulky legs and very muscular, or even remind me of Western Draft Horses.

But, the EYES MUST be binocular DRAGON EYES. They MUST view FORWARD, and should be LARGE. Also, I've found that Chinese Dragons (Long) can often appear very human-like in their expressions even tho' they are also depicted as roaring like a beast. they are no common beast or brute, but were viewed in ancient times as "gods" or divine sprites/elementals. Qilin also.

Qilin & Dragons also have thick eyelashes, and distinct  brows with fluttery brows that appear to me like fishy-fins, or reptile spikes, but I've seen fluffy ones as well. It depends on the artist.

A Major reference for these comes from The Last Unicorn which were intentionally drawn with HUMAN EYES.

Mane & Hair:

I've decided to keep the beards & mustache (altho' I might lessen or delete them for females, but I haven't decided yet). So far, I generally view the one's I've been working on as MALE.

I am generally keeping the main to be more like that of a Horse. However, these beings are divine and heavenly (much like angels or fairies) so they defy gravity, because they're not fully of this world, and not entirely existing within the 3rd dimension. Their hair always flows upward, or even as tho' under water.

The tufts of hair are very typical of Chinese art (not sure which dynasties), especially on horses, but also on Dragons, Qilin, and other divine animal-like beings. Chinese "gods" ( "god" with a "little g" as there are many kinds of beings that can translate to English as "gods")  are benevolent, and these ones are specifically lucky, and life changing. The good fortune beings, sort of similar to Western fairy tales of the Fairy-Godmother whom grants wishes, or brings good fortune.

They are NOT the western equivalent of demons. The Eastern equivalent of "demons" can range from Yao Guai/Yao Gui, to Gui (ghosts) for even what are called "You" (sounds like "yo") which are basically the same thing. However, these beings are also not entirely evil, or can also be good. In the West you generally wouldn't think of demons or devils or sectors as good.

I have tufts of hair on the front legs, and the fetlocks. But, I'm deliberately keeping it super simplified, because I'm SO tempted to go more detailed, but that will screw up animation with too many details.

The tail is more Lion-like, but more like some artwork by Susan Dawe, yet simplified.


One interesting thing about Qilin is they are often depicted with parts of their bodies on fire. I haven;t come up with a design for that yet, and for the moment I'm sticking to the hair tufts. Altho' that WOULD look, pretty good animated.


I haven't actually scanned any of the sketches I was making, but I was playing with the teeth. Qilin have Dragon heads, which means they have FANGS.

That MIGHT seem strange, but camels ALSO hang fangs. Also, oddly, not all camels have their eyes set on the side, but some have them set forward facing with binocular vision in their skulls.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Unicorns, Rainbows, And Stars!

I've been redoing my graphics for Tumblr, Facebook, and elsewhere.

It struck me to do RAINBOWS after I was reviewing a number of the sources I'd mentioned in my previous blogposts.

I I have almost NO RAINBOWS in my work. The only 1 I can think of was the Sekhmet one I did for a stupid rigged Furries/Anthro' contest, that I never won both times, and the winners were just the buddies of the person having the contest.

Anyways, these are VERY Care Bears & Die Lezten Einhorn (The Last Unicorn) inspired in the coloring styles. Anyways, it turns out the people LOVE RAINBOWS!

Here's actually BOTH of the Sekhmet Goddess Pieces:

Here's This Dujiao Qilin Piece Reworked

I also did a PURPLE version for DeviantART's PrideMonth thingy.

Here's the progression of a number of changes I made to this graphic. I wanted to stay more minimalistic, but I felt it needed a but of SOMETHING. I went with a cool colors vibe, and started adding a stars. Eventually, it became a rainbow.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Recent Qilin Character Design Sketches 001

I worked on these this month during times I was prevented from working on my animation projects at UMASS Boston.

I HATE wasting time, especially when there's things I'd rather be doing, and wishing them to be done well.

NOw that I've finally gotten these scanned, i can start to move onto the parts I really want to dive into.
But, you can't put the cart before the Qilin!
 Originally, I hadn;t planned on coloring any of these, since they're still semi-rough. But, I was reviewing some animated film references and I think I might color at least 1 of them, to see what I think about it.