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Cardboard, Scotch Tape, Let's Put on a Show!

Or, How My Art Has Gone from Bad to Slightly Less Bad

Trevor Harrigan

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Cardboard, Scotch Tape, Let's Put on a Show!

Cardboard, Scotch Tape,
Let's Put on a Show!
(Or, How My Art Has Gone from Bad to Slightly Less Bad)
Fundamentals of Multimedia Design MM1013 001
November 11, 2013
Presented by
Trevor Harrigan
Early Inspirations
(Or, How I Spent My Childhood)
Movies such as
The Last Starfighter

Video games such as
Star Fox
(1993) and

Television shows such as
Developing Ideas
By 2000, I started planning long-term projects which I am continuing to pursue today. Elements of these where featured in my high school's art and multimedia publication "Paw Prints."
Developing Ideas
In 2001—my junior year of high school—I entered into the Texas Computer Education Association's state-wide computer animation contest. I placed third in the contest, and was the only winning entrant who was not part of a team.
The Multimedia Department in my high school introduced me to:

Autodesk 3D Studio Max
Adobe (originally Macromedia) Flash
DAZ 3D Bryce

Thereafter I switched from using trueSpace4 to 3D Studio Max for computer modeling and animation. This is also when I started pursuing web animation projects through Flash.
Early Attempts
I began experimenting with computer-generated imagery in junior high. As early as 1998, I was using Caligari's trueSpace4 for computer modeling and animation.
From Embarrassing to Not as Much
From Embarrassing to Not as Much
From Embarrassing to Not as Much
From this ...
... to this!
"On Alert," made with trueSpace4 in 2000
"Project Empyrean," made with 3D Studio Max in 2004
These are three versions of the same model, from 2000 to 2003:
August 30, 2000
3D Studio Max
October 01, 2001
3D Studio Max
March 16, 2003
Thanks for Watching!
I rendered this image in trueSpace4 on September 9, 2000.
These two models of the A-10 Thunderbolt were made from scratch.
From Embarrassing to Not as Much
Just as I sought to improve at creating computer-generated imagery, so too did I work at trying to make my drawings less of an eyesore.
April 19, 2001
June 18, 2004
As a child of the late 80's and early 90's, I was greatly impressed by productions pioneering the use of computer animation and real-time 3D graphics. Among the most influential were:
It became a childhood dream of mine to work a computer graphics artist, especially as a developer of video games.
After high school, I launched a webcomic based on one of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games,
Ragnarok Online

This webcomic helped me to practice drawing on a regular basis, improve my drawing techniques, and develop a semblance of workflow. It also provided opportunities to work on Flash-based animation through the occasional animated short.
Level Grinding as Art
Here's a comparison between the first comic, uploaded on September 21, 2002, and one almost nine years later, uploaded on February 14, 2011. These comics were drawn using Microsoft Paint and then finished with the GIMP.
Level Grinding as Art
To date, there have been almost a dozen animated shorts created for
Ragnarok Wisdom
, often as milestones and anniversaries. This is one of the animated shorts, released on my birthday back in 2009.
Level Grinding as Art
Early Attempts
Most of what I rendered during these years were either for short-term projects or as a product of exploring what was possible through trueSpace4—both by itself and in combination with other programs like Planetside Software's Terragen.
The aircraft in this image were rendered in trueSpace4, while the background was created in Terragen. Glow effects and shadows were added with the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).
This video is the entry I submitted to the TCEA competition.
Multimedia classwork gave direction for improvement. This is one such project from April 2002, personifying an object. A sword that wants to be a cheese knife was an early running gag of mine.
From Embarrassing to Not as Much
(My "skill" with rigging lighting in 3DS Max left much to be desired.)
In 2009, after learning of the annual animation contest jointly held by the Great Plains Technology Center and Cameron University (and that it was observed by multiple companies involved in multimedia), I planned to enroll in the B.S. in Multimedia Design program after earning my A.S. in Business Administration at Vernon College.

I aim to receive a professional educational background in multimedia (compared to the years of self-taught and independent study from before), gain experience with current CGI and animation technology, and further develop what artistic skills I have.
Plans for the Future
It's my hope that my studies here at Cameron University will open up a path to a career in the multimedia industry, perhaps working on military simulators with a government contractor.

I also plan to continue pursuing my long-term projects as an independent video game developer, for which I will need to consider a double major or a minor in computer science.
Plans for the Future
In addition to computer modeling and animation (both as CGI and Flash), I also actively work with other forms of computer graphics, such as sprites and pixel art. Similar to
Ragnarok Wisdom
, I undertook projects to improve what I could do at the pixel level.

For example, I made dozens of sprites for members of various online communities, which are in the style of the Neo-Geo Pocket game
Capcom vs. SNK: Card Fighters Clash
. "Custom CFC cards" were a popular source of avatars in some circles.

It Ain't the Size of the Pixels, It's How You Use Them
July 02, 2002
February 03, 2007
These two cards were made for the same person, five years apart.
Compare them to this card, which is from the actual game:
After some attempts to create large-scale character concept art suitable for printing on posters between 2005 and 2006, I ran into the issue of dots per square inch (DPI). My raster-based images were too small in resolution, and reworking them without simply resizing them was a time-consuming nightmare.

With the knowledge that larger prints would require still higher DPI, and that standards could change in the future, in 2007 I started pursuing vector-based art for printing or resizing at will.
... If You Use Them At All
This is a wallpaper available at the
Ragnarok Wisdom
website, created on my birthday in 2010. Since it was created entirely with tools in Flash, it can be exported to any number of resolutions without pixelization, allowing for bigger resolution images as technology progresses.
... If You Use Them At All
These images are from an experiment conducted on May 17 of this year, in which I adapted a technique for coloring comics in Photoshop to Flash. I achieved this through gradients and layer masks.

Depicted is my main character from the defunct
superhero-themed MMORPG
City of Heroes
... If You Use Them At All
Over the years I continued miscellaneous CGI modeling and animation projects, some of them influenced by my work with
Ragnarok Wisdom
. For example, below is a model of a character from the webcomic, Aragan, which I worked on in the summer of 2003. I had intended to fully rig it for animation and speech.
Continued Development
The music you're listening to is "Flowerguy's Pool Party" by Jake "virt" Kaufman, available through the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.
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