Have you ever dreamed of creating interactive comics, animating your own cartoon characters or rendering three-dimensional figures? Today is the perfect day to get a jump start on your artistic ambitions!
Mother’s Day is this weekend, and if you’re still scrambling for gift ideas look no further! All moms love homemade art, so utilize your illustration / animation skills to create truly one-of-a-kind gifts.
• Use Manga Studio to make Mom the hero of her own Super Mom comic book or graphic novel.
• Organize your family pictures into a beautiful and unique photo slideshow with ScatterShow.
• And for the animation pros: use Anime Studio to create a short video in lieu of a boring Hallmark card.
Got any other ideas or want to share your creations for Mother’s Day? Post in the comments below or send them to @SMSIGraphics on Twitter.
Finally, check out and share this Mother’s Day Animation from Smith Micro!
Created with Anime Studio, for more information go to:
We recently got the chance to chat with musician, writer, director (and puppeteer) Liam Lynch. You may recognize his name from projects such as MTV’s Sifi and Olly show, Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny and his hit song United States of Whatever. Check out our Q&A with Liam, where he talks about his career so far, advice for young artists and his extensive use of Poser.
Featured Artist Liam Lynch
Q:Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: My full bio can be found on the “About” page on www.lynchland.com. I’m a writer, musician and director in Los Angeles CA. I’ve created, written and directed for television and feature films. I’ve also made music for television, feature films as well as having a top ten hit myself in the UK and Australia.
Q:How did you get into illustration / animation / graphic arts?
A: I had created, directed and acted in my own series for MTV in the late 90′s into 2000. It was a puppet show called Sifl and Olly. It was a daily show. When we would make them, I would do all the puppeting myself. We’d shoot 40 shows all at once for a season, so I would be puppeting for over a month straight. All Day, everyday. I developed carpal tunnel in my hand and wrist from hold awkward poses while puppeting to camera. After the show ended on MTV, I still wanted to make short videos and have fun with characters, however, I knew that puppets would be too painful and I needed to give it a rest. I wanted to teach myself animation. I started with Lightwave and did learn it to a degree but it was just so complicated and not character centered. That’s when I found Poser. At the time, it was Poser 2, I think. I was able to teach myself how to use it and my first time using it was to create a video that was a part of Tenacious D’s live show. As time went on, and my skills and the program evolved, I started mixing myself shot on green screen, into the Poser scenes I had created. Now, with Poser Pro 2014, After Effects and Final Cut, I am able to do camera moves and make even more ideas come to life. It’s fun to be able to just create or simulate any idea I have or would like to see.
Q:What industry trends are you a fan of and why?
A:Industry trends? I don’t really know. I do like interactive stuff though. I would much rather play a video game than watch a movie. Now that gaming is so advanced and amazing looking, movies seem so passive. Some of my favorite cinematic moments are from games. Gaming was another big influence on my teaching myself 3D animation.
Q:What has been your biggest challenge as an artist / animator?
A: Some of my challenges come with my ideas…I will think of something I want to make and it’s often something kind of out there or weird. I jump right into it and then realize… “How in the heck am I going to do that?” so every single job I do is something I haven’t done before. That leads to always doing new things and challenging myself but it’s also a constant state of feeling lost and without a technique. You have to use your own ingenuity and really know your programs to achieve shots you are visualizing. So I guess the biggest challenge is myself. Trying to create processes and planned out procedures to things that are often subconscious.
Q:What has been your biggest success?
A: I don’t know. I have a top ten hit. I’ve written and directed feature films and TV shows… but those aren’t what I’d consider success. I have also had several viral videos that blew up on YouTube. I find making stuff on YouTube far more satisfying than for networks or studios. The money isn’t…but the freedom always is better. I guess my biggest success is just not limiting myself as a person/artist to the types of things I make. I didn’t corner myself. That has a downside too because people aren’t sure how you utilize you when you’re all over the place. They want you to be good at one thing and use you for that one thing. When you give yourself more freedom, you can become harder to define, but still, I think giving myself creative freedom no matter how it could effect my career is my biggest success because it’s good for my soul.
Q:Where do you see the comic / animation industry in 10 years?
A: I definitely see more NON animators having apps and programs that allows them to animate using tracking from phones or webcams or Xbox Connect type devices. I think that just like cell phones have turned everyone into a photographer (good or bad) that technology and games are going to let more and more people animate. I think 3D model makers will have their hands full.
Q:How would you describe your job as an artist / illustrator?
A: I think I’m a jack of all trades in some ways and some people bring me into projects as sort of a creative swiss army knife. I’ve worked as creative consults on jobs and it’s awesome when someone trusts my opinion or ideas. I also love comedy and music and animation and so I really love to blend all those three things together. My YouTube channel shows a lot of examples of my fun home experiments.
Q:What advice would you give to young / up-and-coming graphic artists?
A: Keep making stuff. Finish everything you start. You can’t get better until you keep making stuff and practice. With every animation you make, you realize something you’ll do the next time. When you make something, always put something in your way that you don’t know how to do. It’s the only way to learn and increase the size of your tool box. You have to challenge yourself.
Q:What Smith Micro tools do you use, how do you use them and how have they affected your workflow?
A: I use Poser Pro. I actually have Poser Pro 2010 and 2014. I still use 2010 because it allows you to output movie files with alpha channels and 2014 only allows still images or image sequences with alphas. I not only use them to create videos for clients and myself, but I also use Poser a lot in the storyboard phase of productions. It’s a way for me to simulate shots and show crew my ideas and get everyone on the same page faster. I’ll block out shots and frame sizes in poser and make movies that I can show people I’m working with. It’s instant understanding that way and everyone knows what we’re making together. I also use it to figure out shots and timing for music videos. It’s been a big help for me in that way. Even when I made the movie Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, I often simulated the scenes in Poser and then would send small quicktimes to the effects department as rough examples of timing or framing. So for me, Poser also gets used as a sort of moving rough storyboard where timing needs to be seen as it plays and not just static still like a traditional storyboard that doesn’t give you an exact sense of pace.
Thanks to Liam Lynch for taking the time to share his knowledge and experience with us.
Check out these videos Liam created with Poser and be sure to head over to www.lynchland.com for more:
As digital media rises in the world of art, we see many artists engaging in mixed media. The line between traditional and interactive storytelling is beginning to blur as artists continue to incorporate 3D, 2D, audio, and animatic elements into their art. This movement has been adopted by novice and professional artists, alike. Although Anomaly and RWBY use 3D animation in Poser, they look as if they have been styled in 2D. Both Anomaly and RWBY use 3D modeling and paint over with a drawing program to get a mixed-media effect. Many artists whom use Poser to create amazing 3D figures later touch them up for a more photorealistic look. Peugeot Hybrid4’s The Hybrid Graphic Novel is a fantastic example of how a car company has taken the speed of their car and interpreted it into a motion comic with 3D elements. Car companies realize the significance of mixed digital media and its emergence into pop culture. Visuals draw viewers in and has become a prominent means of reaching audiences because of how engaging it is.
LOC.NES – The Quiet in the Chaos EP (MotionArtist & Ableton Live 9)
A plethora of examples also stem from MotionArtist. The program is versatile enough that users can import visual and audio files to give their motion comics a more interactive feel. Glenn Bledsoe, creator of Crazy Fly Comics, creates the visuals for his motion comics in Manga Studio and then imports audio and text to create amazing videos. To read more about Glenn’s experience with MotionArtist and Manga Studio, click here.
Banjo A Ghost Story Crazy Fly Comics
“MotionArtist opens the door for the uninhibited expression of artists’ imaginations. In every step of developing MotionArtist, we have evoked powerful animation capabilities that professionals need to push the boundaries of the media, while at the same time streamlining the steps that make media production time-consuming for grassroots artists,” says Jordan Bentley, Product Manager for MotionArtist. “MotionArtist users hold the key to evolving this media, because the only restriction to their vision is what they can imagine. This will become the driving doctrine in the coming evolution of MotionArtist and the communities it cultivates.”
Charlie’s Abduction by from Filippo onez Vanzo
Charlie’s Abduction from Filippo onez Vanzo on Vimeo. In this video you can see how Filippo uses some drawings he has created of Charlie, a background of space, and a variety of music and voice recordings to bring the animation to life.
In the Echo Callaway, the artists have given their viewers the option of speed. There is a “Beginning,” “Previous,” and “Next” options at the bottom of the screen and you click as you go. Some of the strips are in color while some are black and white.
ANOMALY uses a pipeline of 3D modeling, digital painting over, augmented reality, and game-like animation. Anomaly’s creator, Brian Haberlin, a long time staple in the comic industry and avid proponent of evolving mixed-media, had this to say in this Comic Book Resources blog.
“I’m setting up my characters, costumes, environment. I’m thinking of 3D as my rough pencils. I’ll strip out all the color, I’ll keep some of the shading information, I’ll really do super high contrast, almost making them inks, then I’ll draw over them. The problem people have with straight 3D in print is, it’s hard to make it look alive. 3D is great when it moves, but when it’s a still, you have to step on it with the human hand as much as possible.”
Have you created any digital mixed media lately? Share them with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Check out our Pinterest page and feel free to send any pins of your art our way. In the meantime, check out these 4 Amazingly Impressive HTML5 Web Comics from MakeUseOf.com
Until September 30, 2013 you can have your cake and eat it too. With savings this big there’s no reason why you can’t finally get your hands on the best creation software around. Cheaper than a tank of gas, you can buy the digital versions of Manga Studio EX 4, Anime Studio 8 or Poser 9 for just $29.99 each. STILL cheaper than a tank of gas is our super savings, unbelievable, O-M-G we must be crazy, over 90% off bundle. Get your hands on all three software for just $49.99! For more information on our awesome deal, check out this link. Didn’t get this e-mail in your inbox? Be the first to receive news and promotions by signing up for our e-mail list.
Smith Micro’s booth this year is 4437. Make sure to stop by and check out all of the cool things we’ve got going on. Grab a MotionArtist mask! Take pictures in your mask and hashtag #TheRISEofMA on Twitter and Facebook. Check out demos of the newly released Manga Studio EX 5 and grab a special edition Axe Cop poster if you purchase EX 5 at our booth. The following successful individuals have used our products and we’re very proud to share a little bit about them and where you can find them during Comic-Con.
Victor Paredes, an award winning animator from Chile, will be demonstrating products and taking questions at the Smith Micro booth (4437) during San Diego Comic-Con. Having used Anime Studio for over 9 years now, we consider Victor an Anime Studio celebrity. I don’t think we’re the only ones, either. The News-Gazette featured Victor in their paper when he held a seminar on how animation works. The News-Gazette called Victor, “the premiere tutor for Anime Studio.”
A lot of Victor’s animations are featured in our Anime Studio Gallery. To view more of Victor’s animations, check out his YouTube Channel. His animation, Regálense Unas Vacaciones was featured in our blog on how Anime Studio inspires international education. We also blogged about Victor when Smith Micro won a Telly Award for Happy Earth Day, an animation created by Victor and his team. After receiving the award, Victor stated, “Smith Micro’s Anime Studio software has been a great tool for cutting down production time, as well as adding precision and detail to animation projects. My team and I are delighted to share this Telly Award with Smith Micro.”
Will you be visiting Victor at Comic-Con? Keep up with Anime Studio’s Facebook and Twitter pages for news during Comic-Con. To read more about Victor and his experience with Anime Studio, check out his User Story.
Ethan Nicolle, creator of Axe Cop and Bearmageddon, will be at booth 1603 during Comic-Con. Ethan has been a user of Manga Studio for over 6 years now. You can read more of his User Story on our website. Don’t forget to tune into Axe Cop on July 21 at 9:30pm/8:30pm Central and July 27 at 11pm/10pm Central on FOX. Follow Ethan Nicolle on Facebook and Twitter, as well as Axe Cop.
Lar and Ryan will be joined by artists Ari, Will, Joel and Randy at Blind Ferret Entertainment‘s booth, 1231. Lar and Sohmer are cartoonists for Looking for Group and Least I Could Do. Sohmer is also writer of The Gutters and The Bear. Lar said Manga Studio “simplifies the grunt work of comicing so I can get to the fun stuff faster. Inking is a joy in this program!” and that “Flatting in Manga Studio is stupid easy.” Check out Least I Could Do and make sure to stop by their booth to say hey!
Follow Lar and Sohmer on Twitter.
Rooster Teeth Productions
Stop by Rooster Teeth Productions at booth 1437! Monty Oum, director of animation at Rooster Teeth Productions and senior animator for Red vs. Blue said, “When I’m working on Red vs. Blue, Poser is like an extension of my body. I have no time for inefficiency or unnecessary steps and I need a workflow that I can move around easily. Poser is user friendly enough that kids could use it to animate, but at the same time its powerful and flexible enough that nearly all of our rendering and character animation for the series happens using Poser.” Read Smith Micro’s Press Release for more on Red vs. Blue. Be sure to watch RWBY’s “Red” Trailer, featured below. RWBY was also created in Poser.
Guitar Gladiator Image taken from: http://www.marcreneonline.com/
Marcus Rene Hill is a guest at the Man of Action Studios, booth 2007. Marc has used Manga Studio to create all of his artwork, including the graphics in The Machine Stop. Preview his book while you’re at Comic-Con. He’s giving free copies of The Machine Shops to the first 100 people! Check out his website to see more of his comics.
Follow Marc on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Kirk Kushin & Illustrated by Gonzalo Martinez Image taken from: http://www.ozopolis.com/
If you head over to Forcewerks at Q-14, you’ll meet Kirk Kushin. Kirk is an award-winning writer, producer, and director. He’s the author of several graphic novels including OZopolis and Super Teen*Topia. OZopolis was written by Kirk and illustrated by Gonzalo Martinez. OZopolis was completely done in Manga Studio, from rough pencils to tones and lettering. Check out OZopolis on Facebook, as well as Kirk Kushin’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Show Gonzalo Martinez some love on Facebook and Twitter, too! All of the work done on Gonzalo’s website was created in Manga Studio.
Paolo Ciccone is the driving force behind Prêt-à-3D, the developer and publisher of the brilliant “Reality 3 for Poser” software product. Reality 3 provides Poser users with a bridge for their scenes into the physically accurate, unbiased LuxRender engine. What this ultimately means to Poser artists? Truly remarkable photo-realism with a user interface that is easy to embrace.
Reality 3 for Poser has accumulated some very lofty praise along the way. My favorite quote from Paolo’s website is one from the Poser artist, Mary Williams (Nightsong): “The crystal clear twinkle of glass under ancient lights, the flash of brightly colored spell effects blazing in a starlit night, the blush of freckles ‘tween lace and auburn curls, and the softness of light filtering through darkness and dust. But, what I love most? Seeing everything from fantasy, to goth, to steampunk, to backyard romance come to life in the renders of Reality, looking just as if they walked from a photograph — or your own back door right onto your screen!”
But since a picture is worth a thousand words, here a few render samples to show the final results that Reality 3 can enable for Poser artists using the LuxRender engine.
RDNALondon01 by bandred @ RuntimeDNA
R34P_hero by Syyd Raven @ RuntimeDNA
Reality 3 for Poser supports the following versions: Poser 9*, Poser 10, Pro 2012* and Pro 2014. To view the documentation click here, to find purchasing information click here.
We are so excited to announce the newest version of Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014 are available now! Our newest addition has lots (5GB to be exact) of great new 3D figures and content. We could go on and on about all of the great new features, but instead check out our video posted below and see for yourself. Or better yet- check it out on our site! We are offering up to 20% off until June 30! We would hate for you to miss out on such an awesome product. We are super excited about it and know that you will absolutely love it.
Don’t take our word for it. See what others are saying:
Do you remember where your first dose of creativity came from? Was it from a song? Was it from a movie or cartoon?
One thing I recall from growing up is that movies were my source of inspiration. It was film that taught me how to draw and tinker with film making.
This dialogue is especially timely since Jurassic Park is back in theaters but this time in 3D (I feel old). Just seconds after the movie started, I got chills from the dark opening score by John Williams and I found myself smirking throughout the rest of the film. Not only did I see Jurassic Park approximately 20 times in the theater as kid in Arizona but I believe my older brother brought me every little piece of Jurassic Park merchandise.
But to this day, I remember one thing and that was Topps’ Jurassic Park trading cards. These cards sparked my love for drawing. It was here, my love of not only drawing, story boarding and truly understanding the power of pre-visualization started.
I wanted to learn how to draw like Mark “Crash” McCreery. To this day, I can’t listen to the Jurassic Park soundtrack without being transported back to the simple days of drawing baby Velociraptors as well as everyone’s favorite, the T-Rex. Thanks for the memories, inspiration, and art lessons Mark “Crash” McCreery.
Over years, my art (primarily photography) has matured over the years due to one thing: A good story.
It sounds simple right? Just find or write a story.
I remember making little digital video shorts with my buddies in high school. I absolutely loved the creative process from start to finish but there was always something missing…
You guessed it, a good story.
My camera movements were smooth, my edits where clean, and my lighting was ok but after I made my final rendering export, I still really had nothing.
This is when I started doing some simple research about what it takes to make a good story. Since I was a huge Star Wars fan, I have always heard about the influence writer Joseph Campbell had on George Lucas’ work (especially episodes IV-VI). I soon discovered the path of the hero and the overarching storyline that has transcended various cultures and religions for hundreds and hundreds of years.
The story is simple; a hero sets off on an adventure. Along the adventure, the hero encounters many friends, mentors, and villains that test our protagonist. Through the adventure, a key revelation and transformation happens to our hero. This revelation forever changes our main character. The adventure soon ends and leaves the hero forever changed from by their experience.
In a nutshell, this is the path of the hero. When examining Star Wars, Lucas simply added new characters to the traditional hero storyline and set them forth on the path of the hero to fight the evil empire. However, this time, there were Wookies, Jawas, Lightsabers and sadly, Ewoks.
So before you start on your next piece of artwork, do some research. Delve deep within the history of your project, art piece, or animation and uncover hidden truths, conspiracies, and untold stories.
Joseph Campbell’s book The Power of Myth assisted me in my quest to find a simple yet effective storyline. Perhaps you too will gain some powerful insight into your next adventure! Check out YouTube for segments of the brilliant 1988 PBS interview with Bill Moyers.