Sunday, December 31, 2006

This Morning I Elfed Myself ...

... and here the results. Have a great New Year's Eve, everyone. Some big changes are in store for ol' BTA once the New Year rings in, and we'll be sure to keep everyone posted.

THANKS FOR A GREAT YEAR, EVERYONE!

Friday, December 29, 2006

jotto.com Lives

We just finished uploading the old hijacked jotto.com site to the funnier jottodotcom.com.

http://www.jottodotcom.com

Spread it around the internets, it's back. Yay!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I am in UR holidaz, wishing your cheerz.

The ol' studio is closed until Wednesday and we wish everyone safe travels. Julia is going to South Carolina, Tim to Iowa, and everyone else to the far corners of Minnesota. Where ever you are...Happy Holidays Internets!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mooooreee Party Pics

The feast, made from shrimp, crab cousins, sausage, vegetables...

...and fun!


Zander and Anna show support for Julie's freaky six fingered hand! *


Chris Jones and Melissa in a fake fight with no backstory.


Dave and Jen take advantage of the last nice weather (36 degrees) we'll have for a while.


Then at midnight, instead of going home, the most hearty sat around and sang Christmas carols and hair-metal.


Anna and Mary take to the piano, but where is our banjo player...


...face down in the coat pile with an enthusiastic "greetings and salutations" for photographers.


THANKS to everyone who came, we had a ton of fun.



* they were intoxicated, Julie's hand has a normal five fingers.





Tim's had one.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Photos from the BTA party.

BTA’s Christmas party last night was a delicious success. If I’d known Shad's wife was such a good cook, I’d have stolen her away from him a long time ago.

My camera didn’t see much action because I was a tad on the drunk side, but here are a few that I did manage to take:

Zander with his lovely family

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Britt tolerating me

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Kevin and Zander are getting ho-ho-hongry for some eats! Get it?

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I don’t know what it’s called when you dump good food all over the table but I do know that it was FANTASTIC.

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Seriously, it was probably the best shrimp I’ve ever had…

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Lastly, here’s Tim mourning the death of a good crab

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Hopefully, Shad will post more later because I’m pretty sure he took better photos than this. Anyway, thanks to Anna for making a fabulous dinner and letting us mess up your house!

Knute Escapes


Here's my take on "Knute's Escapes," a Zander Cannon franchise. Shad immediately thought this comic was a comment on working at BTA but I quickly assured him that the scope of the message is much, much greater than that.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

YAY Busy Time

We started on a whole bunch of projects so no one is blogging. Three Target things, setting up PUNY, a new Cartoon Network game with Ham, another J. Otto Seibold project, more Saucy, more Action City, hollywood stuff, and the new graphic novel is under way. Today someone asked us how much it would cost to have us work on Christmas...which is a good sign...they pushed the schedule around so we don't have to do it..but it's nice to get calls from people who want to fill up your days.

Also, we're not looking for an Animator anymore...thanks! We still have an opening for an internship and in the next few months will probably be looking for another designer for PUNY.

A friend who does great interactive looking for an interactive designer. If you work on the web, there are a ton of jobs out there. What a great time huh!

Here are some recent photos:



WE FOUND A DRYING RACK. Thanks to Wes at Burlesque Design, basement printing just got a lot easier. What a beauty!


Even nerdy dudes can be dudes when it comes to the proper way to drill a big hole through a conference table.


Tim, Justin, and Julia in the PUNY site photo shoot.


Tim, Me, and City Pages Reporter Molly P at the MIMA Holiday Party in the new Guthrie.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Comic Book Christmas Idea (hint hint)

Quick blog love to Johanna Draper Carlson, who specifically mentions the Big Time Attic story in her review of Project: Romantic. For a complete list of reviews, check out The Comics Reporter.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More nostalgia

Many of you know about the Handicraft Guild studios, where a bunch of cartoonists got low rent studio space in the same building right in the middle of downtown. Zander, Kevin, Me, King Mini, Gene Ha, Will Dinski, Sam Hiti, Adam Wirtzfeld, Rob Franks, OZEL, Brian Ewing...

I found a couple photos of the old studios, I don't think I ever got one of Kevin's space. Click for slightly larger images....

Zander's space, the cover for The Replacement God #7 is up behind the light..so this is probably pre-Top 10:


Vinny's space:


My space on far right, Adam Wirtzfeld middle, Gene Ha back left...I think...I can't remember who had their chair up on blocks...maybe Rob.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pre-BTA comics

I was looking for some stuff and I found these old anthology comics I did with OZEL pre-BTA. Not may people have seen these...the computer lettering is really bad and my fault...but what the heck OZEL draws good...click on a page to get to the next..

Lower Level Kiosk (5pgs)

Victorian Era Romance (4pgs)

PG 13!--Modern Mundane Classics: Tale of Pandemic (3pgs)

Friday, December 01, 2006

WE'RE HIRING!

Actually, we're looking for some talent for our new game/interactive entertainment spin-off PUNY.

Over the next few months we'll be looking for:

ANIMATORS
JR. level 2-D Character and effects animators to create games and short animations in Flash. Flash experience is preferred but being a good animator is more important.

We have a spring animation internship available too.

If this sounds like something you're into...sends samples, a resume, whatever you've got to:

PUNY ENTERTAINMENT
1618 Central Ave NE Suite #130
Minneapolis, MN 55413

No phone calls or emails.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!

Today is my wife Anna's birthday. Wish her a happy birthday if you want to... We had a really great lunch at D'Amico and she'll spend the evening studying.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shad's Mom

People always ask if "Shad's Mom" is really my Mom. Yep, she's a former librarian who now works in human resources for the Army. She's lived overseas for most of my adult life but has recently moved to Illinois and got an incredible deal on a fancy-schmancy house that she's restoring. She spends most of her time reading and stripping woodwork. I figured that while we're down here for the holiday it'd be a good time for everyone to....Meet Shad's Mom:


Here she is making pasties for my Dad's birthday.


Mmmmmmm....pasties. Pronounced pass-ty.


Mom's sweet house that she's fixing up.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

288 Hour Comic Book Challenge: Chapter 2


Chapter Two of "Far Arden" is up online after a rough 24 hour period, from 3pm on Tuesday to 3 pm the next day (which gave me just enough time to catch up on sleep for today's Thanksgiving activities).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

DO NOT MISS THIS

I'll be out of town, but if you're Minneapolis Friday you definitely want to go to the art and poster sale they're having in the First Amendment gallery space. There will be a ton of amazing stuff there. You can get really prints for CHEAP. I always see crappy Ikea wall hangings at people's houses...here you can get hand-made prints and posters.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Maxeem is Signing "Commune" at Big Brain Comics Tonight!

As the title implies, our very own Max Konrardy (Maxeem) is signing his graphic novel "Commune" at Big Brain Comics tonight from 5-7. Come say hi to Max, pick up a book, and talk about stuff.

Fun fact: "Commune" is the most environmentally friendly graphic novel ever printed. So that's why you should buy it, even if you don't know how to read.



Here's Max signing at FallCon. Sadly, I'm guessing he won't be wearing the Action City hat at Big Brain tonight.

More about me

Say, that studio tour looks pretty great, but now look over here.



Look at me!


At Big Brain Comics the venerable Drivas is hosting me for my book signing party. Come on down tonight from 5 to 7 for crazy book-signing antics like signing my book and talking to people who are buying it.

While I'm at it, see if you can view my new website: maxeem.com.

It now requires Flash.

Hoozah!

Studio Tour

A big bus rolled and we welcomed 45 Western Wisconsin design students to our space. We were very honored to be chosen for the field trip as the other place they went was the design super-firm Duffy. I went on a Duffy field trip as a student, so it felt kind of incredible to be on the other side of the fence...a real sense of accomplishment. The students were great and a couple of them have added us as their Myspace friends, showing that we had an impact. As everyone knows...Myspace friends are usually only the most important people in someone's life.

Here are a couple photos:


The big-screen debut of our demo reel.


Tight fit.


Zander describes the similarities between hand-drawn artwork and half-eaten burritos.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Elephant Bear

Hey, I've updated my website so it's now it's a reading room rather than a collection of outdated Bone Sharps reviews.

There's also a BRAND NEW story up, called "Elephant Bear."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Saucy

We went down to check out the opening of Saucy (the burger joint we concepted, named, designed etc. etc.) and get some shots of the real-deal food to use in promotional stuff. The food was really good (best onion rings I've ever had) and people are really digging the build-your-own-burger concept and the design. We also got some nice comments on the menu boards and people often stopped to watch the videos as they were walking by.


Here is the completed menu board.


We set up shop in the old Steak Escape space, which felt post-apocalyptic, and after some cleaning and rearranging made a pretty decent food photography set up. Here Vinny is putting together some good looking burgers and chicken sandwiches.


Tim is tough on the talent. His drill seargent like approach intimidates most models but the ones that can take it move on to become super-stars.


We take a ton of pictures in hopes of getting a few good ones. It's a lot of trial and error. We don't have an army of food stylists with weird inedible materials, so we're not looking for perfection...delicious but real.


This design is a poster that's going to be hung up around the mall. The burger is sitting on a Steak Escape prep table and the red backdrop is an old Wisconsin Badgers blanket that was in the back of Brian's truck.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The statistically improbable dream

It seems to me that certain times annually bring about certain moods, like a tide carrying in an emotional season. Not like this could ever be scientifically verified or anything like that, but well, I guess I sometimes wonder if -- somewhere out there -- is my very own scientist working in his humorless, steel-encased laboratory on this particular case.

But that's just crazy, astrological hippie-talk so I asked Kevin what he thought.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Final Instant Runoff Voting Airing Schedule

Here's your last chance to see two anthropomorphic ballots battle it out over the love of a human woman. In 3D!*

11/6 -- FSNO -- "World Championship" (5:15 am)
11/6 -- CNBC -- "Squawk Box" (5:29 am)
11/6 -- CNN -- "American Morning" (6:49 am)
11/6 -- ESPN -- "Sportscenter" (7:06 am)
11/6 -- CNBC -- "Mad Money" (5:29 pm)
11/6 -- CNN -- "The Situation Room" (6:49 pm)
11/6 -- FSNO -- "The Sports ..." (7:45 pm)




* not actually in 3D.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paper Doll.

This Saturday my wife Anna passed on her crown as Queen of recycled fashions that she won last year for her phone book dress. This year she made a dress out of her old law school to-do legal pads and class notes:



Anna is the hottest, smartest, funnniest, creativiest...woman I know.

JoLynn made a second appearance as well, dressed in packing material, and had the misfortune of being a target for bubble-wrap poppers all night.

Some Sunday Morning Comics

This quickie is dedicated to everyone involved in the national "write a novel in a month" program thing that started on Tuesday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tim hurting himself

Here's a video of Tim from a couple months ago when we were just beginning to set up our new space. It's pretty silly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Instant Runoff Voting Animation to Air During Wild, Gopher Games

You can check out our "Elect-A-Date" spot during tonight's Wild game on FSN (7:26 pm) and during tomorrow's Gopher game, also on FSN (8:15 pm).

Class of 3000 : Funkbox



This great project we did with Ham In The Fridge just launched. "Class of 3000" is a new Cartoon Network show featuring Andre 3000 of Outkast that aires this Friday. We've had a sneak peek and it has great and infectious music, fun character design, and really cool animation. They're also doing a lot cross-media projects...and they're doing it RIGHT.

"In Class of 3000, we have a show that is perfectly suited to a massive multimedia rollout, and that's exactly what we'll be doing," Jim Samples, evp and gm, Cartoon Network stated. "From exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the show to streaming full-length episodes, not to mention downloadable songs, ringtones and podcasts, we're making sure that Class of 3000 has compelling offerings on every available platform."


Big Time Attic was responsible for the art and animation in the project, our PUNY games partner Steve Killingbeck programmed a bunch of it and built the sound engine, Ham In The Fridge was in charge and did all the producing, project management concepting, and design, and Mark Greenberg was the master of sound. Go play it..I dare you to try to make a bad song.

Hopefully this blazes trails for more music shows..because we have one in our pitch packet :) Anyway, now that we can talk about Cartoon Network projects, we thought we'd give you a look at some of the production art that went into it.


Early pencil sketches. These were made before we could do anything else to get to know the characters and design their instruments that would be used in the game.


More pencils

The pencils were then scanned into the computer and inked/colored with Adobe Illustrator and Flash.


Here is a sequence of Kim's playing animation. Each character was given two instruments and a resting and playing animation cycle needed to be created for each. The programmers will then loop and speed up or slow down the cycles with code. It's important for us to get naming conventions and build templates for characters to make it easier for the programmers. The pieces in game animation has to be a lot cleaner and more precise than story animation.






Here's a complete cycle for Lil D. The backgrounds take so long to digitally paint (plus we were neck deep in other illustrations at this point) that the animations had to be done against a preliminary drawing. The backgrounds were almost the last things done...it made everyone nervous.

Almost the last thing! The animation, design, and development was happening simultaneously over three suites here in Minneapolis, the music design was happening in Chicago, and Andre 3000 was down in Atlanta recording his vocal instruction track. The instructions are the final elements to a game, as gameplay may have changed at some point along the way. That means there was a lot of character animation and lip synching to do right before the gold deadline. Seth made an animatic and sent it over here for Julia to make a rough stick-figure gesture version of the instructions:






Once the gestures look good, the final animation is laid in...and then it's off to the developers to wrap up. You can compare the gesture animation to the final by:

Playing the game.