Sephiroth Re-paint and FFVII Remake Rant

This painting has been long overdue. I’ve been meaning to make a new painting of Sephiroth for a bunch of years with my “updated skills”. This illustration is basically a repaint of this one I did back in 2008 (yes, almost TWELVE years ago):

I have all kinds of lame excuses as to why, at least in my opinion, this doesn’t look like 12 years of improvement but I’m not going to make an exhaustive list. Long story short, I didn’t want to spend some 50 hours on the new painting of Sephy, like I probably did back in 2008. Actually I don’t even know how long I actually spent on the one from 2008 (probably not 50 hours), except that I probably spent at least a week on it and at least a few hours a day. The new one I wanted to get it done in less than a week, mostly because there are other things I’m way more interested in working on at the moment.

I just really wanted to push this painting out. I want to do another Sephiroth painting soon but take it much slower and be okay with it taking a longer period of time with smaller work sessions or whatever while I dedicate more time on more important things. But also I did this for the Character Design Challenge for this month. I’ve been wanting to leave that group for a while because it depresses me a bit. I keep wanting to participate in each month’s challenge but end up not doing so for whatever made-up excuse I come up with in my head. But when I saw this month’s challenge, I absolutely could not refuse. I had to at least paint Sephiroth again. So my other excuse… there’s a deadline, but then again I also don’t want to work on this up until the last minute of when I can submit it to the challenge.

In case you didn’t know, Final Fantasy VII is probably my most favorite video game ever. Of all the things I made fan art for, I made the most for FFVII. Fan comics (hundreds of pages I made as a kid. I didn’t scan/upload them all.) and illustrations, and from middle to high school, I played FFVII music on the piano.

The other night, I loaded up the old FFVII on Steam again. I remember re-playing it about 3 years ago. I didn’t realize how close to just, completely complete I played through it. I forgot I got like, all the master materia, and two of my characters were at level 99 and another one was at like level 97. All that was left to do in the game was to beat Ruby Weapon, and I didn’t think I could do it. I beat it in like 15 minutes after dying once. I even got all lucky 7’s for the first time ever in my life. I always vaguely knew about it but didn’t know exactly how it worked so I got a bit confused while it was happening.

After I beat Ruby Weapon, I felt a horrible sense of emptiness because there was basically nothing left to do in the game. I already had a gold chocobo. So I kept the desert rose. Like seriously. By the time you wanna try killing Ruby Weapon, you probably bred the hell out of your chocobos. This play-through was the most exhaustive I’d ever played and I feel almost as if I could recite the Final Fantasy VII game from beginning to end including the side quests. I mean, no I’m not one of those hardcore fanatics who does play-throughs with no materia or no attacking or whatever. But I can say I’ve never made more fan art for anything else than I have for Final Fantasy VII.

So.

The new remake of the game came out.

Two main things I want to say:

1. I don’t have a PS4 (but honestly now that I think about it, buying one wouldn’t be that much of a problem for me these days)

2. Even if I did have a PS4, I get extremely nasty motion sickness if the camera is too first-person and/or moves around way too fast.

I’ve tried watching some gameplay. My motion sickness comes in within like 10 seconds. It’s really bad.

I’m really, really sad and kind of depressed about this.

Yes, yes — in the grand scheme of things, given that we’re in a horrible pandemic, I don’t actually have anything to complain about in terms of what’s going on with me personally, day to day. I’m absolutely not suffering at all compared to people who are really suffering in the world. But just within the bubble of the world of Final Fantasy VII, I’m intensely sad.

Second thing that’s making me sad, aside from basically the motion sickness:

Since I became an adult, I’ve come to hate anime. So when I watch cutscenes from the new remake, oh boy. Cringe fest for me.

Look, I don’t really really have anything against anime or anime fans. I just grew up with it, was heavily influenced by it and also a bunch of manga in my development as an artist. I learned so much from them. Honestly, the sight of anime and manga still makes me really excited and makes me want to draw more. But once I start watching the stuff and the characters open their mouths, I’m reminded of why I stopped watching anime. Yes, there are a few shows or movies that I would still like, almost whole-heartedly, but the vast majority of them just make me want to go away and do something else with my life. People will make recommendations to me. A lot of the times I give them a try. Most of the time it just doesn’t do it for me.

But what else did I expect? I played through Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII. (And watched Advent Children.) Well, FFX wasn’t nearly as egregious as FFXIII but still, the dialogue is just like — I can’t help but think, “You people just sat around in a conference room, did a read-through with voice-actors and nodded your heads and patted each other on the back and… this is what you went with?!”

I haven’t played FFXIII in years but one thing I do remember always thinking: “SHUT THE !@*& UP VANILLE, YOU.ARE.SO.ANNOYING!!!!”

Script-writing aside though, all the Final Fantasy games I’ve played have been really good. Okay, I tried to play Final Fantasy X-2 and I just couldn’t. It looked soooooo interesting with all the different classes for the characters, but come ON. The game was like, pure and obvious fan service, like “Can’t get enough of FFX? Here’s some more but with ONLY BOOBS!” I couldn’t stand the dialogue at all. Playing the game was like trying to live the rest of my life with my head underwater.

All that passionate disapproval aside, the Final Fantasy games I’ve played, especially FFVII, is always going to have a very special place in my heart, even if I’d have to tolerate anime-standard writing that just isn’t to my taste.


But do I see myself dying without having ever played through the remake of FFVII?

No!!!

One day, perhaps when it comes out for PC, I’ll probably play it. If it doesn’t come out for PC, I’ll just get a PS4. Whatever. I’ll probably try some anti-vertigo drugs that don’t put me to sleep or something. I’ll probably blow chunks into a bucket next to me while I power through. I’d do it for FFVII. I may not be a hardcore-no-materia-playthrough fan, but I think I’d be a throw-up-for-500-hours-of-motion-sickness-playthrough fan.

*Sigh* there are a lot of re-draw illustrations of FFVII fan art I want to do. For now though, here’s the new Sephiroth with my “updated” art skills.

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Skillshare Class Sample

Here’s a sample/promotional video for one of my Skillshare classes on digitally painting hair.

You can find the full, premium Skillshare class here.

I believe you can get 1 or 2 months free if you don’t have an account yet and you make one. The full class can be viewed if you have an account, I think.

Hope you find the tutorial video(s) helpful!

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Intro Animation finished in Krita tutorial

I finally finished my intro animation for tutorial videos a few weeks ago, after starting it like a year ago and putting it off a lot.



You can view the first tutorial it got edited into here:

I have a lot of video tutorial ideas. I’m going to make a bunch of short technical videos as well as lecture-style tips on Youtube, and make longer project-based videos on Skillshare. I know that when I look up how to do something with software, I really like when the videos are short.

Hopefully the intro animation makes an impression on people and draws in an audience.

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Inktober Entry #3

For the prompt from the 5th of this month, “build.” I referenced this weird thing. It’s still the 5th of October somewhere in the world…

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Inktober Entry #2

Yay I did another one

 

Now I have to get on another call lol 😛

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Inktober Entry

A student of mine suggested I do Inktober this year and I have no real reason to say “no,” so here’s at least one entry:

I meant for it to only take me half an hour… then I found myself still drawing after an hour, then I was like “this needs more contrast…” and then stopped at 1.5 hours because I need to be doing other stuff 😛

This was a pretty impulsive drawing though today’s Inktober prompt was “bait,” so I rolled with it and scribbled something together I guess.

I forget what a good influence my students actually are for me. When they put out something every week or every day, I feel inspired (or really guilty as an artist who has students who sometimes work way harder than I do lol).

Yeaaahh, I’m procrastinating on other projects right now 😛 I was totally planning on finishing this in half an hour but then I got a little OCD and was like “no no, I need to add some other stuff…”

Hooray for publishing more artwork.

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Student Animation: “Santa Cause” by Roshan

Here’s a new animation recently completed by my 14-year-old student, Roshan:

Our first class together was just over a year ago. For the first few months, our lessons consisted of some animation exercises.

He started his “Santa Cause” animation last December on his own, and then I helped him work on it once every other week for about half of this year. I think he has a very particular sense of humor that he puts into his work, and what better way to demonstrate it than in animation?

I’m so proud of Roshan because he had an awesome idea for an animation and followed through with it to the finish line. I think a one-minute animation with this much drawing is tough for anyone, and I’m so happy that he has worked this hard and long on a project like this and actually completed it. These kinds of projects usually require patience, persistence, hard work and a sense of grit to produce.

I truly had fun helping Roshan with this project. Every time I opened his updated animation file during our video calls together for our lessons, I would look at the progress he made. I’d always forget how incredibly hilarious his work is, and then I’d laugh all over again at the work he had done.

I hope you continue to make more awesome hilarious animations, it’s been so much fun working with you Roshan!

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Small Pixel Animation Gig

Earlier this year, I created some pixel animation for a client, Michael Smith from iTribe Social Inc. that was then compiled into a cool video:

 

I just did the pixel art/animation, basically. Michael has been really nice and easy to work with. I always feel cool and hip when working on his projects 😛 probably because I mostly provided cyberpunk pixel art for him.

I do want to make more cyberpunk-y artwork but I’ve been caught up on other projects lately >_> Well, at least I’ve been productive 😀

screencap_itribesocial
Hooray for more finished work. Well, hooray for an update hahah 😛

Thank you, Michael, for the fun projects and for being such an awesome client!

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Owl Animation quick update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, and I felt like I should post *something* to show I’m not dead!

Here’s a quick screenshot of what I’ve been working on lately. I’ll present it in full when I’m finished!

This year I got into Krita. It’s truly an amazing piece of free software, and I believe it’s the easiest all-inclusive program where you can digitally paint and animate stylistically, including with chalk-y, painterly or sketchy styles, and even pixel art!

So far, the majority of my students whom I’ve introduced the software to have been really enthusiastic about it. The brushes included in it are very customizable and it feels like it’s doing half the work for you to make your artwork more stylized and polished.

And here’s a quick gif prototype-ish thingy:

I feel like my students have really been motivating and inspiring me. I’ve been pretty stoked about this project, and got some of my students hyped about it so sometimes they ask about it. If I haven’t been working on it, I feel kind of guilty, in the same way that they would feel guilty if they tell me they have no new work to show for my classes (to which I say most of the time “that’s totally okay!” if there are no major deadlines :P)

Since I haven’t been using flat colors and the animation is actually textured, it’s going to be taking me a lot of time. I even want to animate a bunch of little objects and the lighting, not just the owl, to really bring this whole scene to life. The older version of myself would have been like “but it’s too much work!” but then I think, “What would I tell my students though? Should I really be showing them that it’s okay to be so intimidated and then too scared to take on a worthy task?”

So now, I want to signal to them that they really should not be intimidated, that every extra additional minute they put into making an animation look more developed, colored and polished, is completely worth it, and people will love it. Viewers are so much more likely to click on a thumbnail of a colored animation than an uncolored outlined one. All the time you put into a confidently executed animation will give back to you later in the form of other people’s appreciation for it, years down the road.

Happy art-making!

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Sci-Fi Concept Art

I’ve been wanting to get into the science fiction genre of illustration, but it’s tough since I haven’t put in as many hours into stiff structures and mech-y parts. I’ve put in way more time into the fantasy genre, not to mention mostly female figure illustrations.

I was again trying to replicate some Peter Mohrbacher. Coming up with cool colors, lighting and interesting composition is challenging.

 

Since GIMP hasn’t been as cooperative with my hardware these days, I actually did this one completely in Photoshop. The smudge tool lags a whole lot, so I just kind of try to manually blur/blend things with the brush or just filter it out.

Some day I hope to be nearly as good as the artists I admire.
Cheers to more finished work!

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