My Transition from Animation to Digital Art

Ever since the first quarter of 2016, I’ve been enjoying doing Digital Art by using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for desktop.  A couple months later, I got myself a 12.9 inch iPad Pro along side the Apple Pencil and purchased the $10 app called Procreate and that’s what made me love digital art even more.

But out of nowhere, I became interested in creating animation and for years I’ve been struggling to find the courage I needed to practice animation and I managed to do it.  However, after I practiced animation for a few months, trying to learn animation isn’t as fun as Digital Art and I became less interested in it.  So I officially decided to quit animation.

After I quit animation, I’ve been having some second thoughts.  Because during the time I’m learning animation, I came up with some interesting fictional stories.  But since I’m no longer interested in animation, I asked myself this question and that is: ‘How can I tell the audience my fictional stories without any knowledge of animation?  But somehow, I had an idea on how I can tell a story.  What I can do is draw a single drawing from my iPad Pro, post it to procreate.art, and write down what this artwork is about.

 

-Ethan L.

Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy(Review)

Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy for the PlayStation 4. This game trilogy consists of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped.

 

The storyline of Crash Bandicoot involves Crash Bandicoot and Aku Aku as he attempts to foil Dr. Neo Cortex’s plans to mutate animals into his private army and rescue his bandicoot girlfriend Tawna.

The storyline of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back involves Crash Bandicoot and Aku Aku as he attempts to foil Dr. Neo Cortex’s plans to gather Ancient Crystals to power his Cortex Vortex which he intends to use to enslave the minds of everyone on the entire planet.

The storyline of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped involves Crash Bandicoot, his little sister Coco Bandicoot and Aku Aku as they attempt to foil Dr. Neo Cortex and Uka Uka’s plans to gather Ancient Crystals and Ancient Gems across the vast reaches of time via their Time Twister Machine.

 

The antagonists Crash Bandicoot faces off against in this game are Dr. Neo Cortex,

Uka Uka,

Papu Papu

(Crash Bandicoot),

Koala Kong (Crash Bandicoot),

Pinstripe Potoroo (Crash Bandicoot),

Dr. Nitrus Brio (Crash Bandicoot,

Komodo Brothers (Crash Bandicoot 2),

Dingodile (Crash Bandicoot 3),

Dr. Nefarious Tropy (Crash Bandicoot 3),
Ripper Roo (Crash Bandicoot 1 & 2),

Tiny Tiger (Crash Bandicoot 2 & 3) and Dr. N. Gin (Crash Bandicoot 2 & 3).

 

In conclusion, I think it’s so cool that they brought back Crash Bandicoot for a new and improved encore performance of N-Sanely, crazed proportions.

Image result for crash bandicoot n sane trilogy

 

Resident Evil 2 (2019) Review

Resident Evil 2 (2019) is the long-awaited remake of the beloved second installment from 1998 in the classic Survival Horror franchise, helping bring a more modern take using elements from more recent installments such as 4 and 7.

 

The game remains set in the fictional Raccoon City, where two people traveling there find themselves caught in the middle of an outbreak that has resulted in creating hordes of zombies and mutated creatures, searching for a way to escape while uncovering the truth of how it all started. While there are a few changes made, the story is largely the same as the original, with nothing really contradicting how everything already happened. This allows for a couple of mysteries and surprises for those who already played the original game.

 

The visuals are obviously improved to meet the standards of current games of this generation, using the game engine from 7 to give much more detail to the environment and enemies, showing the horrific imagery such as the grotesque monsters and/or the brutal killings in all their bloody disgusting glory. A lot of it will still look familiar to older fans, while also altering other parts to help it stay fresh. Either way, it’s quite impressive to look at, even if your heart or stomach can’t take it as well as your eyes.

 

The gameplay returns to its classic roots of giving you the option to either fight or run away from zombies, depending on the weapons or items you have and how much of them you’re allowed to carry. Healing items and ammo are in limited supplies, so you have to be careful of how you use them up, which has always been a source of tension. There’s also a few puzzles you need to solve in order to escape. It of course has all come a long way, and is improved upon for today’s audience.

 

While zombies are slow for the most part, there’s still a chance for them to grab you while you’re busy running and shooting. Aiming for the head isn’t gonna cut it this time, and they can follow you to most of the other rooms. One monster in particular is a near-indestructible brute that will keep looking for you no matter how much you run or hide. There’s a lot of suspense with having to deal with him menacingly coming your way and smashing you to the ground. There’s a lot of strategy involved with having to deal with all these creatures, as you still need to save some stuff for the bosses that you’ll definitely have to fight. So make sure you have enough firepower to take those on.

 

Overall, the game stays true to the original terrifying experience from 20 years ago, while still using the later improvements to the series to truly make it a new take on an old favorite. While some things are still removed or heavily altered, it doesn’t stray too far from what people originally got in the day. Even keeping some extra content for after already finishing the game so that you can keep playing some more afterwards. With all the expectations this remake had to live up to, it manages to do the original game justice.

Detective Pikachu

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On May 9th a movie will come out a movie that to me has suppressed my hype for any movie this year or any movie that has ever been released this movie is called Detective Pikachu. This movie has me so hyped because I am a Pokemon fan. Pokemon is actually the only video game series I have ever played which I guess It’s why I like it so much. Other than that the movie looks like it was made by fans of the series or the people did their research. You can tell this by one of the trailers mentions Arceus with Detective Pikachu saying “Sweet mother of Arceus”. See Arceus in the fandom is often called the god of pokemon and is from the Pearl and Diamond games which non pokemon fans will probably not know. Most people who watched Pokemon as a child in the 90’s remember the first games Red and blue which has the original 151 pokemon. This shows there not just trying to please the crowd of adults from the 90’s who played or watched Pokemon as kids but the fans who love all  the games the new and the old.The movie I think will also be fun to watch because many non pokemon fans will watch it because the very popular actor who played Deadpool Ryan Reynolds will be the voice of Pikachu. Fun fact is many people wanted Danny Devito to voice Pikachu I don’t know why but nevertheless I prefer Ryan Reynolds because he brings A star celebrity talent with it.

By Anna P.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Review

Image result for super smash bros ultimate

After 4 years Super Smash Bros Ultimate makes it’s debut on Nintendo Switch and it lives up to the name ultimate. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a fighting game in which characters from several different Nintendo franchises duke it out in a fighting game battle royale. With this being the fifth entry in the franchise Nintendo pulled out all the stops to make this the best Smash Bros game ever.

This time around the roster is a massive 74 fighters and Nintendo definitely delivered the goods when comes to the characters in the game. The game also boasts a massive 108 stages making it once again the largest stage selection in the series. With the game having 74 fighters in it’s roster Nintendo brought back every character that’s ever been in a Smash game ever, including characters that haven’t been in a Smash game since Melee.

There are also 10 new fighters this time around as well. They include fighters like Simon Belmont, The Inklings, Ridley, King K Rool, Isabelle, and Inciniroar. There are also echo fighters this time around as well. These are variants of previously existing fighters which include Richter Belmont who is an echo fighter of Simon Belmont, Daisy who is an echo fighter of Princess Peach and many more echo fighters as well.

Another new edition to Super Smash Bros ultimate are spirits; these take the place of trophies from the previous smash games. These are spirits of various Nintendo characters that you can equip to the fighter of your choice, these can be various things like an attack boost or having a specific item equipped  There are 4 different kinds of spirits: Attack spirits, Shield spirits, Grab spirits, and Neutral spirits. Super Smash Bros Ultimate uses a rock, paper, scissors type system with its spirits such as attack spirits are good against grab spirits, shield spirits are good against attack spirits, and grab spirits are good against shield spirits. Equipping the right kind of spirits into battle adds a lot of depth and strategy into the game. There are primary spirits and support spirits you equip to the character of your choice. Primary spirits have an amount of power that when leveled up increase your fighters stats. Depending on the type of primary spirit you have equipped it gives 1-3 support spirits slots. Support spirits are spirits that can only be equipped if you have a primary spirit equipped. Depending on the type of primary spirit that you have equipped will give a certain number of support spirits slots. Each support spirit has a cost and each one uses up a support spirit slot. Support spirits not only power up your fighter but also can give a specific bonus when starting the fight, such as zap floor immunity or having a home run bat equipped.

Classic mode once again returns and in my opinion it is the best it’s been in the series. It’s short and sweet, there’s unique boss battles and each fighter’s path is different and unique for each fighter in all classic mode and it is great in this game. All star mode also returns in this game but it’s not as good as it was in previous smash games, it’s basically a mob smash from the previous smash games. The fighting once again is fast paced and a chaotic like it’s been in previous Smash games. This time around you can not only air dodge but there is a critical smash if you land a critical hit on your opponent there will be a flash to indicate it. Once again 8 player smash returns.

There are 103 stages in the game but sadly there are only 4 new stages in this game. Just about all the previous stages get a big graphical upgrade being presented in HD. The only exception being the stages form the Super Smash Bros 64, those stages retain their original looks. New to Smash Ultimate this time around are  stamina battles. These play like a traditional fighting game where you deplete your opponent’s health bar or in this case percentage meter to 0. Vs mode now has a lot more options than before when creating your own custom Vs match. You can now modify rules set in the game for Smash/Custom Smash, Squad Strike and Smash Tourney. Custom Balance allows you to modify a fighter’s power so that way they’re not too overpowered. You can choose whether or not to seperate echo fighters or mii fighters.

Graphics are in full HD and to the date the best this series has ever looked being bright and colorful and cartoony at the same time. Assist trophies once again return and they’re better than ever. Not only is there more than there has been in the past, but now you can Ko assist trophies as well. Final Smashes once again make a return and they’re once again better than ever. They’re not only more flashier than before, but they also get right to the point this time around. No more having the final smashes be some powerup, now they feel like a finishing move in a fighting game.

Online play also returns this time with more options than ever. Up to 4 players can battle it out against each other online, players can also set up a private room together where you can voice chat with your friends via Nintendo Voice Chat app. For ranking system this time around we have the global smash power. This online ranking system ranks all players scores on a numerical scale with the number based on how many players that person outranks. There’s also a special mode in the game just for the top players called Elite Smash mode. You now have a preferred rules option for how you want to play multiplayers whether it’s locally or online. You can set the rules for how you want to play and who you want to play with as well.

There’s also a spectator mode where you can watch other players battle it out online. It’s a great way to pick up gameplay tips. All in all Super Smash Bros Ultimate is great and it improves over everything the previous games did and adds a lot of new stuff as well. It also adds a lot of new stuff into the game to make it feel unique and brand new at the same time. While there are a few game modes that I feel are missing, all in all I feel Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the best Super Smash Bros game to date. My final score for Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a 5 out of 5. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is exclusive to Nintendo Switch.

 

Nathan B

 

Comics, Cartoons and Stop-Motion Animation

Last month, our Comics, Cartoons and Stop-Motion Animation workshop provided a wonderful opportunity for adults on the autism spectrum to express themselves creatively, explore their talents and practice social skills together. Sharing this popular area of interest with others created a positive, encouraging environment where participants could engage with their peers, build friendships and GROW! We asked some of the attendees to share their experiences with us. 

BRANDON (Assistant Media Lab Instructor, former SEEDs participant)
Instructing at a community event does raise the bar when you are learning to be a teacher. Given that I was teaching stop motion animation at our Comics & Cartoons Workshop, it was quite a surprise to see participants take part in the class. Seeing seventeen guests coming to the event and feeling excited about animating sure was a challenge as most were not familiar with the medium.

It was an honor having Scott Pfister (Media Lab Instructor) aboard and a big help with Jake and Ethan.  In my experience with the pair, Ethan is quite a tech wizard and Jake has the potential to become a director. Our crew was wonderful given that we were sparking creative fires for the visitors of our workshop.  That itself was a success, and that the individuals that joined us had a hand at making a short video with the figures that were used for the set portion. The intent was that they were to have fun and learn something new, itself being quite an accomplishment. Overall, the event was successful and I hope to do more teaching on the medium.

JAKE M. (Workshop Co-Facilitator and SEEDs participant)
On Saturday February 16th I co-led the Stop-Motion Animation Workshop event at Seeds for Autism. I taught the participants how to build a set for stop motion-animation. Other instructors included Brandon, Ethan, and the Seeds Video Lab Instructor Scott. In addition to set building, participants got hands on experience with handling lego characters and moving them through a sequence in order to create a movie. Students also got to see a demonstration of the editing process. Being a leader felt good because I got to show people an interesting movie making skill which is also an art form.

CHRIS M.
I went to the Comics, Cartoons and Stop-Motion Animation Workshop on Saturday, the 19th of February. In the Comics section, I helped show my group how to tell a story in comic strip form. Then we made our own comic strips. I recreated a scene from the new HellBoy movie that is coming soon. Next, in the Cartoons section, we did paintings of pop art sound effects. My painting was a lightning bolt with the words “Thunder Strike”.

And finally, in the Stop-Motion section, we learned how to make animations using toys and puppets. I was helping Brandon the instructor with doing an animated short with LEGOs while everyone else was learning from the videos. The workshop overall was pretty neat and I look forward to what they’ll come up with in the next workshop.

JEFF
I was at the Comics workshop. I participated in all three events: comic strips, pop art and stop motion animation. I especially enjoyed the beautifully done “Mer-Mom” short shown as an example. All together I’d say this was a pretty educating experience. I can’t say what I learned in words but doing it helped me, let’s say, flow with it.

 

 

JOEL
I went to the Comics, Cartoons and Animation workshop. I drew backgrounds and made stories with cartoon characters. I made a painting that said POW! I made LEGO animation. I had fun.

SONJA
Last month I attended a Seeds for Autism workshop that was about the art of making comics, cartoons and stop motion. I started with how to create a comic strip and how to set up a scene adding in the characters you want to use and how to make a smooth transition from panel to panel. The next class was a painting class. We were painting the sound effects that writers in comics used to emphasize the weight of the situation to get the reader more attached to the characters they love. Finally there was the stop motion class where I learned how to manipulate the model to get the exact shot you want and how it takes patience, time and effort to make your stop motion film the way the creator intended it to be. The classes were really fun and I enjoyed myself a lot. I hope to do more workshops in the future.