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So FanExpo, which was a month ago, was pretty awesome in the sense I had no trouble getting in or out of the venue to eat. Table neighbours Mark Brooks and Alex Milne have been very chill and gracious with small things like swapping bills for coins and lending sharpies. Met a bunch of old con buddies I haven't seen in FOREVER. It's been a whirlwind of drawing commissions, playing multiplayer demos from Uncharted 3 and Assassin's Creed Revelations, and catching up with friends.

After that, WORKWORKWORKWORKWORK.

Now that the Toronto Film Festival was underway, I had the pleasure of meeting Holly Conrad from Crabcat Industries for the premiere screening of a documentary called "Comicon IV: A Fan's Hope". For those of you who don't know her, she and her friends made these ridiculously awesome animatronic masks of Grunt and Wrex from Mass Effect - that you can find on youtube. She's one of the most well-grounded people I've met by far, and genuinely funny to boot.

Also at the screening was Marvel legend Stan Lee. Who we all met at the afterparty. Playing ping pong.

I think my head fell off.

All in all I had an amazing weekend, and am now packing for a week-long sabbatical in Montreal. Apparently there's a Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at their art museum.

... I am so there.
:star::star: t.co/UsOWYVy - Table P46! :star::star:
This is where I be sittin at the show! Do stop by and say hello if you're in the area.


No really, do stop by! I've got a buncha quality prints I'm putting up for discount because they're taking up way too much space in my room and they all need happy homes.

[EDIT:] I'll be giving out a bunch of a la carte print sets at FanExpo. After that, the rest goes INTO THE RECYCLING BIN NEVER TO BE SOLD AGAIN. REPEAT, NEVER TO BE SOLD AGAIN.

I'll also be doing sketches at the show:
$5 for straight pencils
$10 for pencils and greyscale copics

Hope to see you guys there!

Just in case you guys don't find me at the table on Saturday morning/early afternoon, I'll be comin in a bit late from a classmate's wedding. Chances are I'll still be in a formal dress for the rest of the day. So in case you needed to know why your eyeballs melted in your skulls that very day, that's why.
These days I've been pretty swamped with work at a new studio. Not much I can say about the projects I move around on other than how I'm either doing illustrations one day then 3d modeling the next and maybe a hint of compositing here and there. While the only catch is having to be a quick learner with things I'm not familiar with, the good thing is I'm never bored.

Lots of sweet events coming up in Toronto next week:

Video Games Live concert
YES... HELL... YES.....

Free Comic Book Day
Which coincidentally takes place at the same time as -

TCAF
Totally going as a customer, will walk around to say hello to people I know. The TCAF website also has a helpful list of restaurants around the area in case you want grub or something to sate your foodie obsessions.

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In my free time, games own my life. There's like a bajillion games I have on Steam I haven't finished playing through yet and I keep getting more. In between waiting for more Dragon Age 2 story based DLC and Mass Effect 3, amongst other games, I suppose I could use the distraction.

Finished Portal 2 by the way, despite my FPS allergies. It was funnnnnnnnn.
I'll be doing some warm-up sketches before digging into a digital painting, feel free to stop by and check it out :D!
I'll be painting a few Mass Effect requests over the broadcast, if that's your cup of tea or if you'd just like to hang out by all means come on over!

:star: URL: livestream.com/axl99
:star: Time: 1 PM EST [that would be 6-7PM for those of you on the other side of the world]
Wow. It's been a crazy month and my head's still spinning. Here's an update on what I've been up to:

:star: :star: lostgirlseries.com/motion-comi… :star: :star: - This is the interactive motion comic prequel to a Canadian TV show called "Lost Girl". I got to work on that as a colourist at first, but was soon brought in to do video editing and filled in a spot for animation as well!

As for the TV show, apparently it's doing pretty well so far! Not sure if the Showcase.ca website is region-locked, but here's a link to a couple streams of the tv eps up so far:

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EP 1: www.showcase.ca/lostgirl/video…

EP 2: www.showcase.ca/lost+girl/vide…

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Those of you who came by the Showcase table at Fanexpo and picked up a Lost Girl comic? Congrats on being one of the first 300 in Canada to get one. Met the actors from the show too, super nice people. Kris Holden-Reid was especially awesome.

Still got about another 4 more chapters to go before the Interactive Motion Comic project thing is done. I took the liberty of reading the script for the rest of the upcoming chapters, it's looking real tight.
FanExpo's this coming Friday!

If anyone wants to stop by and say hello, I'll be hanging around table 1033 - just behind the Marvel booth - on the left hand side of the 300 level. There you'll get to see a new project I had the chance to work on for the past little bit.

:star: Here's the map - i67.photobucket.com/albums/h31…
[WARNING - The following discussion after the journal entry may contain spoilers.]

Saw it with :iconle-mec: this afternoon and the both of us were just simply blown away.

By far the most technically immaculate film I've seen in recent memory, probably not saying a lot - it's been a long time since I was so enraptured by what's going on screen. Nitpicking would've been a futile exercise in itself since I do it so often with the movies I watch, so instead it was much better to wonder where else this film was capable of taking its audience. I would totally watch it again and then grab the dvd off the shelves for the behind the scenes extras and commentary.

Ok. That was a bit of gushing on my part.

I read the Inception comic prequel "The Cobol Job" that the guys at Udon worked on in web-format. The panel by panel thing the site had in flash was terrible, so I just yanked the pdf instead. It provides a rather compressed exposition without giving any ideas away. In hindsight I like how it introduced us to Ken Watanabe's character as Mr. Saito.

There were lots of little things I liked about the movie, things I'd love to see expanded even further in commentary or as a short side story expansion. If they were all included into the film, it'd have been much longer than the 2.5 hour rollercoaster ride it was.  There was a slight bit of emotional and conceptual/imaginary restraint Nolan has that kept the film from spiraling into the psychedelic nonsense that was "The Cell", but it's the kind of restraint that works within the boundaries of the film itself.
School's over, as well as my demo reel and portfolio. Finished backing up junk sitting on the hard-drives. Got half-drunk with classmates and instructors at the local sports bar on karaoke night - two people sang that night, myself and one other teacher, and by then almost everyone had already left. They missed out on awesomeness.

Other than that, I AM FREE~

Still lots of stuff to do like catching up on films and games I missed out on - amongst other things - but all in all I enjoyed putting my nose to the grind for the last 8 months.

Time to have some fun!
It was a fun game, and one hell of a distraction from the weeks anticipating the release to actually sitting down and playing it to the end. Ultimately I found myself bouncing on my chair going "WHERE'S MASS EFFECT 3?!"

For now all I can hope for is more DLC, or even better, an expansion pack or two. But no rush. All good things take time to make.

For those of you who are either playing or finished the game, did you guys have a favourite squadmate or NPC?

--

Art direction and sound design were just beautiful together. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much more "oomph" the devs got out of the Unreal Engine.

There would be livestreams of people playing the game, and I'd be just as content listening to the gunfire, music, and other ambient sound effects meld together.

As the story was mostly character-centric, the people you recruit range from generally interesting to ingeniously hilarious. The conversations you can have with each of them are alright, but it'd be nice to see more character interactive banter on and off the ship. Most of them just minded their business and keep to themselves when they're not on the job.

Just the sheer premise of the game made me think of Ocean's 11 or Snatch, minus the zany camaraderie and plot overviews from different character perspectives.

I found it funny how every one of them had a room of their own on the Normandy, I swear in mere hours my ship turned into a hotel. Throw in a bar lounge and a small gym with a boxing ring and we'll be set. People can booze it up while they make bets on who can take on Shepard in a one on one fight.

The planet scanning minigame almost made wish I could orbit and pan and zoom around the area like a 3d program. Recalling all the probe jokes I kept hearing on the gameplay livestreams made me chuckle every time I went to deplete a planet of its natural resources like a parasitic insect.

All in all, it was worth the effort after grinding through the expensive process of upgrading characters, weapons, and ship features. Thankfully I managed to survive the game unscathed.

Overall, a vast improvement over Mass Effect 1. Kudos Bioware!

COLOURS: anthology - taking preorders now!

Journal Entry: Tue Jan 12, 2010, 2:19 PM




Over the summer :iconfresh4u: invited me and many artists to contribute a piece for a themed anthology artbook called COLOURS - www.lithe-apathy.com/colors_ar…

All proceeds from the project are to be given to the National Organization of Rare Disorders.

:star: You can preview my entry here:
COLORS: Orange Persimmons by axl99

I don't often do stuff like this, but I just couldn't say no to a worthy cause, so I'm spreading the word as much as I can. It'd be much appreciated if you guys could check this out.


In case you were curious to see who signed up for the project, here's the full list of participants:

:iconfresh4u: :iconmoosekleenex: :iconnati: :iconpyawakit: :iconevelmiina: :iconanklesnsocks: :icon1022: :iconkatieannowens: :iconbetteo: :iconshycustis: :iconlysol-jones: :iconchickenteeth: :iconrye-bread: :iconethe: :iconkatarzynajaskiewicz: :iconlicchan: :iconmartinhoulden: :iconaxl99: :iconallegna: :iconcrouching-kitty: :iconpeach-mork: :iconmediaviolence: :iconcoeykuhn: :icondalia: :iconazuzephre: :iconclaparo-sans: :iconplaguedog: :iconmoonyen: :iconmilkdeer: :iconcbernie: : :iconcaltron: :iconpuncturedscrotum: :iconantilamonn: :iconochrejelly: :iconmutsy: :iconresemble: :iconaniamohrbacher: :iconkaiserknife: :iconsmoteymote: :iconbrilcrist: :iconsaprophilous: :icontails-ch2: :iconpetemohrbacher: :icontrowicia: :iconsandara: :iconbuguanle: :iconmsh: :iconliiga: :iconjunalesca: :iconhamletmachine: :ico lawnmowerpants: :iconjisuk: :iconarekudemon: :iconkchilt: :iconcassandrajean: :iconfabio-barboni: :iconcurry23: :iconleaunoire: :iconkajoi: :icon2013: :iconan-jing: :iconsambees: :icontkpants: :iconlynseylew: :icongottschalk: :iconbasalt: :iconboum: :iconaragornbird: :iconeurukatt: :icontobiee: ... and more!

Happy 2010 you crazy people!

Journal Entry: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 5:10 PM
Happy holidays, happy new years, an early kung hei fat choy and what have you.

So as of a couple days ago 2009 went and gone in a blaze of fireworks and confetti in NY's Times Square. More than I can say for Toronto's pitiful excuse of a New Years bash.

I can't say 2009 has been kind on me in all respects, hopefully 2010 will see a nice turnaround.

But in any case, I certainly hope you guys were doing well on your end. Eating, drinking, making merry...

And speaking of making merry, I went nuts and started playing a bunch of games on the PC:

- Mass Effect
- Assassin's Creed
- Devil May Cry 3
- Devil May Cry 4
- Grand Theft Auto 4
- Portal

Miiiiight move into Dragons Age and Batman Arkham Asylum in a bit. Right now I'm on pins and needles for Bayonetta, No More Heroes 2, Mass Effect 2, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Heavy Rain and The Last Guardian.

Still so much videogame catching up to do. I should draw more.

Hey guys, long time no see!

Journal Entry: Sun Dec 20, 2009, 10:19 AM
UPDATE:

Livestreaming in a couple hours today at 3:30pm EST - livestream.com/axl99

Feel free to stop by and hang around :D.

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Wow uhmm, been a while since the last journal update. At least it sorta feels like it.

I hope all of you are doing alright where you are. School's effectively kept me from going online to chat with people, so I can't help but feel like I missed out on a large part of my friends' lives, ;A;.

Yes, I missed you guys terribly.

Just one more day of school to finish off one little project and then I'm home free to finish Mass Effect over the holidays.

And maybe do a livestream sometime over the weekend.

I'll keep you guys posted on that, I missed being able to paint.

----

So I take it you guys have seen some of the 3D renders I just uploaded. At least it's a freaking world of difference compared to the utterly atrocious Maya model I did back in college for a rigging class in animation:



--

The following images you guys see below is 4 months of nothing but learning modelling in 3D max.

Kagoshima no Tsubame - DONE by axl99 3D character poses - Tsubame by axl99 3D character poses - closeups by axl99 South Street Diner exterior by axl99

FOUR. MONTHS. Or three-and-a-half if you really want to get technical.

Back then my major mostly concentrated on traditional animation and never really went all too deep with computer animation, or Flash for that matter. Sculpting or 3D modelling was never my strong suit at the time, right now if it weren't for how hard we or our teachers were pushing ourselves I'd have never imagined getting this far at all.

To them I owe a great debt of gratitude.

It's been a grueling 3-4 months, but it was definitely worth it. I'm really motivated to learn more about modelling so I can have an easier time translating concept art into a finished product.

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That aside, I need to catch up on movies. I definitely plan on seeing Sherlock Holmes, but I can't help but wonder if there was anything else worth watching. We'll see :D.

Playing Mass Effect for the first time

Journal Entry: Mon Nov 30, 2009, 7:58 AM
And it owned my life on Sunday. There's... a lot of talking in that game XD. I dig the world design so far although it couldn't hurt to add even more cultural detail. I hate having to go into the damn codex to read every little thing about something that could've taken 5 seconds to explain if I'm talking to some random person on the street - which you can't do for every person amusingly enough.

Speaking of the people, I like some of the characters in the roster so far like Wrex, Garrus, Liana or Tali. Ok. Fine. They're aliens. I seem to find the aliens more interesting than the people in this game LOL.

Gameplay-wise I've yet to get used to the WASD keys, sometimes if I'm crouching or I need to run I accidentally hit the Taskbar/START button and immediately I'm taken back into windows and the game freezes as soon as I switch back. One thing I'm thankful for is that the mouse sensitivity isn't as twitch sensitive as Unreal Tournament so I didn't get dizzy while I'm trying to aim.

Texture work and lighting is pretty a-freaking-mazing [blue blinging light lens flare thing in every level is starting to burn my eyes], although I can't say I'm too crazy about some of the facial modelling and lip-syncing animation.

I'm already pretty excited about Mass Effect 2 coming out at the end of January, here's hoping I'll be able to spend some quality time with it then.

Happeh birdehh to meeehhh.

Journal Entry: Wed Nov 4, 2009, 9:19 PM
Today I grow a little older, and hopefully a little wiser.

School, schmool

Journal Entry: Thu Oct 22, 2009, 10:02 PM
It'd be kickin my ass.

Sorry for not keeping touch with you guys with the livestreams and stuff. Work and sleep hours have been brutal. There's been A LOT of stuff to learn.

Finally decided on a character outta the recent concept sketches to model in class. Been agonizing over which one to do since the instructor had no major problems with how all of them were designed.

I'll be sure to show you guys once it's done just how much I butchered the thing :D - nah I'm kidding. I've been excited about it like all month.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment and share a couple of your opinions.

SEGA Bayonetta art contest results are in!

Journal Entry: Tue Oct 13, 2009, 7:57 PM
:star: And the winning entries can be found here: www.wizarduniverse.com/101309b…

This afternoon I got a quick and brief email from one of the Wizard dudes from the contest that I made the top ten list as the 4th runner up. The blunt wording of the actual message aside, know what this means?

I GETS ME A FREE AUTOGRAPHED GAME!

..I'll need me an XBOX 360 or a PS3 first..

BUT HEY!

Bayonetta will officially have my next gen console game virginity, what can I say? It's all good for me either way.

In any case I also want to thank you guys for helping me out during the first round of judging by the fans. The finalist entries were judged by both the Wizard guys, SEGA - and rumour has it Bayonetta director Hideki Kamiya was in on it too.

My buddy :deviconrobotnicc: was the big grand prize winner in the contest, so please head on over to his page and give him his congrats :D!

The contest had some really cool entries, it's always nice to see some artistic love for the character.

Well then... It's going to be a long wait before I get my hands on the game in Jan 2010... I think I'll just go watch some gameplay demos on youtube till then.

An afternoon in Paradise with J.Korim & Jessie

Journal Entry: Thu Oct 1, 2009, 7:55 PM
Come this Sunday, penciller buddy Korim and I will be at Paradise Comics to do a signing for the Neozoic graphic novel.

It'll go from 1pm to around 6-7pm.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello!

Fiddling with 3Dmax

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 22, 2009, 7:43 PM
Just thought I'd pop in and say hello.

School's been absolutely detrimental to my productivity with 2d, but for the most part I'm finally getting my head around 3D modelling.

..Sorta.

3dmax enviro: house by axl99
- my first house modeling assignment thing

Right now I'm modeling a dinosaur, I've got most of it done, just gotta add some accessories to it and then I'll be finished.

Working with mice in 3Dmax so far is killing my wrists, I can't frigging wait until they start teaching us Zbrush next semester.





DINOS VS HUMANS art contest - THA WINNARZ!
Do take the time to stop by their DA page and check their galleries!

:star: IST PLACE
:iconjamcrackers: - DINO vs Human contest entery by JamCrackers
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:star: 2ND PLACE
:iconzackri: - Dinos v. Humans: Dinoriders by ZackRI
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:star: 3RD PLACE
:iconzelas: - Udanoceratops Rider ver 2 by zelas

FPSes make me dizzy.

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 15, 2009, 9:36 PM
We've been playing Unreal Tournament 3 at school for our class on level design, and I can't even tell you guys how many times I thought I was going to pass out from all that camera movement and all that. I'm absolutely terrible at shooters. Playing Portal on the weekends for practice isn't helping me get used to it at all.

The first day I was all like OH HELL YEAH I LOVE THIS CLASS - until I kept feeling like I was gonna hurl or something.

It's like that time I saw Cloverfield from the front row because everyone else stole the back seats, except not as intense, but it takes a while for the vertigo to go away.

The game art and animation course I'm taking right now is pretty intensive stuff, so every night I come home completely drained.

Right now I'm trying to wrap my head around 3D Max. Interesting stuff so far, just a lot of buttons and the order to press them in to do this and that to remember.

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Thanks again to everyone who I coerc-*COUGHahem*-helped me out on the Bayonetta poll. Now just gotta wait till October and see how things go.

Tommorrow night I'm off to that WiFT reception at the Toronto International Film Festival, no idea what to expect so I'll try to look my best for the event and then check out the film shorts playing at the venues.

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Sorry I haven't been doing a lot of those livestreams and all that, but since everyone else is so into it lately, I'm pretty sure you guys will do just fine without me.





DINOS VS HUMANS art contest - THA WINNARZ!
Do take the time to stop by their DA page and check their galleries!

:star: IST PLACE
:iconjamcrackers: - DINO vs Human contest entery by JamCrackers
---
:star: 2ND PLACE
:iconzackri: - Dinos v. Humans: Dinoriders by ZackRI
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:star: 3RD PLACE
:iconzelas: - Udanoceratops Rider ver 2 by zelas