3 years ago
I’d often claim that part of my success as an artist is in part being an unrequited engineer. I spent much of my childhood assembling things. Being born in poverty, when most infants/toddlers had toys/blocks, etc. as children, my first toys were quite literally the rocks in my backyard. I then moved on to disassembling my various household electronics & car parts. Much of my formative years I spent huddled on the floor over bits and pieces of things my father and I would scrounge up at the garbage dump. The day my older sisters got jobs at McDonalds I thought we were set for life. Free happy meal toys and hamburgers forever. Even eventually as our family established itself, I still dismantled everything to figure out how it worked. Lego’s, Transformers, you name it. Nothing was immune to my screwdrivers and pliers. Years forward as family members chart off to their lives. Left alone you learn the habits you’ve developed are your arsenal.
This all before I ever knew what a computer was, and yet the moment I found out art was possible digitally was fated in me. The prospect of virtual development to me meant limitless possibilities and iterations of work. Staying late at the elementary prep school I perchance was enrolled in, and worked as a janitor to pay tuition. (Yes I was a 12 year old janitor.) I logged as much Macpaint time as I could. Even then when painting per say a car in Macpaint, with no layers, I’d layer it as if I were building it. Frame, chassis, pistons, axles, engine, fuselage, eventually exterior… with 2 colors. When a day came that the old Mac II’s were being thrown out. I waited behind the school and fished out of the dumpster my first computer. Dad taught me well.
This is why I lol whenever people ask me about my process. Because almost always this all too often question starts at such a high level, “What program do you use to make you movies?” This is a question I hardly answer because any short answer I were to give would just be bad advice. And not to mention btw my process is far from any good at all. It's filled with legacy workarounds and the kind of backwards thinking that only seems to work for me. If I were to somehow implant all of my ability and experience into someone else, and give you every application necessary to recreate what I do. It will never recreate who I am. And that’s what you’re seeing whenever you watch what I put on screen. To be able to engineer a working product from a finite level is part of my workflow. So when I hear people argue about which program/workflow they should choose. Keep in mind; less talented people (myself included) have made more with less, which people have become more invested in. Red Vs Blue is a prime example of that. Aspiring animators, don’t get caught up in making a Tech Demo when you should be making a movie.
The finite nature of how I process information extends into everything I work on including RvB. There’s a comparative nature that’s very prominent in RvB Season 9 (and a little bit in Season 8) of the combat philosophy of particular characters. Having already established Tex as much of a Boxer/Brawler character in Season 8, I knew that Season 9’s agent Carolina would be a counter to her. So in planning agent Carolina’s fighting style I decided her movements to be the more romantic version of combat. Tex’s moves are rooted more in practical/realistic in application; Carolina on the other hand is a character of philosophy/enlightenment. For every one punch Tex throws Carolina throws 3. But Tex only needs one punch. But Carolina’s fighting lives in a world of possibility, possibility of misses, counters, dodges. But Tex lives in a world where her punches don’t miss. It’s this conflict in philosophy that I feel adds detail and meaning to the combat. Essentially I root the differences in their character much as there are the differences in soft and hard martial arts. The strength in Tex’s punches come mainly from her biceps and chest muscles, Carolina from her Triceps and back muscles. If you observe the direction in which their punches fire. Tex's almost always come from around or below, her posture often has he forearms heavily curled and tense... and are nigh unstoppable. Where as Carolina's originate from her core and come in rapid succession, are compact, less perceptible and more open to change. This is there in the performance if you watch RvB Season 9 with this in mind. There’s something living breathing in every character one way or another for me. At times I’ve described it to Burnie as:
If Freelancers were cars:
Tex, Ford Mustang, muscle car. But not without style
Carolina is a GT, Also powerful, but with more finesse
York is a good ol’ pickup truck.
South is a Flashy sports car. She’s often wasteful and even vain in her movement
North is a Tow Truck. Nyuk Nyuk
Maine is an 18 wheeler.
That being said, I feel in many ways I failed as a combat designer. Not so much in belief, but execution. The nature of my work eventually delineates to the same thing. And I am forced to question, what does it mean for a sequence to have meaning? Does the number of motions spent equal value? I think I may be a little too much Carolina and not enough Tex. It’s times like these when one should begin to think laterally. It’s almost all too appropriate the nature of combat be at question just as we left our Heroine last year at a similar impasse.
Edit: When I think of Wash he's actually much harder to apply. I find myself thinking more of his tactical nature. How he's always got a plan. For example, Season 8. Ice fight, when he was fighting beside Meta against Tex. He does a flying knee into a combo that ends with Tex Putting him on the floor. But did you notice that in the process he actually snatched Tex's holstered battle rifle from her and later used it against her? Wash requires an extra level of thought and appreciation due to his history.
Ok this is way better
Alkalye - "Wash is a Volvo. Not often paid attention to... but intelligent and multifaceted.
Wyoming is a Delorean. Because he is a fucking time machine."