So … I updated a little earlier this year, or maybe near the end of last year (never say never !) – the first time in a long, long time. I think someone noticed, because this site was subsequently hacked !!! Naughty ! Sooo … this has been restored from an old, old backup. Hopefully that means any spurious files are goneskis. One can only hope I guess …

Hi there friends and fans. So … more than six months between updates again. Just between you and me, it’s just not working anymore, is it ? I started this blog almost five years ago, trying to tap into the same creative vein I started squirting vino prodigiously from close to a decade ago when I was part of the whole self-indulgent, pseudo-literate, trying-desperately-to-be-reactionary Melbourne ‘zine scene’. It’s been a great ride – I’ve (virtually) met many great people, heard some great stories, pissed off more than my fair share of punters, and shared very publicly my own evolution from vacuous shallow (single) party-fuck into vacuous shallow (married) boring fuck.

I called this blog “The Rest of Your Life” – I don’t think anyone bothered to ask, but it was actually a completely obscure underground UK comics / graphic novel reference (don’t even ask me what the publication in question was called – I have no idea anymore) to a single image from a story set in a prison, in which the protagonist’s cell block features a poster that says something like “The Rest of Your Life Begins Here”. There’s some kind of tres-fucking-ironic subtext right there, innit, although I didn’t know it at the time :-)

So yes, it’s been a great ride steering the good ship TROYL over the last 5 years or so. I’m in no way bitter about where it’s taken me, nor indeed should you guys take this as ending on a bitter note. It’s not that I don’t have anything left to say either. I just don’t think I’m in the whole “my life is a sterile English cell-block, full of doom and gloom, self-loathing, hard drugs (when you can get ‘em past the wardens), and the occasional bout of angry prison-style sex” mind-set anymore.

As such, and given the appalling lack of anything even resembling attention I’ve given this blog over the last sod knows how long, I think the decent thing for me to do is to finally, officially, and with a sigh of relief no doubt for all concerned – CALL IT A DAY FOR THIS BLOG !

I’m going to be trying some new things in the next little while as I keep promising (fuck knows I need to, or I really AM going to have that much-touted breakdown and lose my biscuit completely … all work and no play makes Johnny a homical effing maniac with an axe to grind and a serious hankering for stronger head-vacation than alcohol provides – but I’ve been down THAT road before and know it doesn’t lead to anywhere good) and WILL post links to those as I get my shit together. The first of these is a new blog I’m planning called “Zero to Hero” which you’ll find at http://im8dit.com/0

But as far as any more ‘official’ content here is concerned, I’m sorry to say this is it gang :(

Thanks for listening to my psycho-babble, and in the immortal words of Jerry Springer – “Take care of yourselves, and eachother”.

Too long between updates … yeah … sorry – been busy reliving 2004 (the whole looking for a new job at Xmas thing !) *le sigh*

All good now though – more details (and potentially a new blog) to come soon ….

So I read this post recently by Mike Jones over at Digital Basin, and felt the need to respond. I was originally just going to leave a comment on his blogpost, but (as usual) it’s gone a little longer than I’d originally intended, so I’m going to post it here instead :)

——

Hi Mike – an interesting read indeed.

However, I think you might be over-estimating the power of ‘aspirational’ interface design, and letting your own previously accumulated ‘usage paradigms’ cloud your assesment of Moviestorm’s ease-of-use (and appeal).

For the record, I’m a 30-something ‘hobbyist’ film-maker, part-time musician, and (former) freelance web & graphic designer, now working in a primarily non-creative role at an online advertising agency. I’m not a HARDCORE gamer, and my skills using ‘traditional’ 3D toolsets and/or game engine ‘mods’ are severely limited, meaning all my short-lived stabs at making Machinima in previous years have come to nought.

So I guess I’m in the ideal ‘target demographic’ for a product like Moviestorm (and by your argument, Antics).

In the last few days I’ve tried both Moviestorm (now in ‘stable’ release, but still very much in development) and Antics 3.1. The thing is Mike, the very aspects of Antics’ GUI that you laud are the ones which most turn me off. As you point out, Antics by design has opted very much for a ‘traditional’ 3D application interface. For the ’3D-dyslexic’ user, it recalls the (to us) CLUNKING aesthetics of ‘high-end’ apps like 3DS-Max, Maya, and (to some extent) Poser.

Don’t get me wrong – I realise these are all truly powerful, truly mature applications, and as you said in your article, anyone with a modicum of experience in the aformentioned ‘high-end’ environments will feel right at home with Antics, and be able to create a scene in half an hour like yourself. This is the market segment Antics was originally aimed at (‘pre-viz’ for feature films, allowing guys who would previously have had to use a full-blown app such as one of the above, to simplify their workflow).

That GUI paradigm however, makes Antics a pain, rather than a joy to use, for the rest of us ‘mere mortals’ who don’t have a few years of ‘high-end’ production experience under our belts. If you’re completely new to 3D and Machinima, then you’re learning a new interface regardless. If (like me) you’ve tried the ‘big boy’s applications’ before, and been frustrated by the steep learning curves and highly-specialised paradigms, then another GUI which draws on this legacy of ‘shared 3D misery’ is going to be a turn-off.

Contrast this with Moviestorm. It’s a ‘fresh’ interface in many ways in terms of Machinima authoring (which isn’t a bad thing – for example, part of the reason Flash has become such a ubuquitous tool for rich media creation on the web, is that in it’s earliest incarnations it was such a RADICAL departure from the way web content had previously been authored), whilst at the same time recalling games titles like The Sims 2 & The Movies.

Its ‘power’ and its appeal lies precisely in it’s (apparent) ‘simplicity’. The mistake you’ve made in your article is assuming the ‘hobbyist’ user is going to ‘aspire’ to use a ‘high-end’-like tool. For Pete’s sake why ? We’re not talking about ‘aspirational voting’ or ‘aspirational lifestyle choices’ here Mike, we’re talking about software usability. For an ‘old-hand’ Antics is a breeze, but for a ‘noob’ to the field it’s a nightmare. Less of a nightmare than a pro-level app, but still a nightmare.

I think the REAL problem with your post is you’ve lost sight of the ‘end goal’. Yes, someone like myself or the ‘archetypical hobbyist’ ASPIRES to be a bona-fide ‘professional’ film-maker. Read that again carefully. FILM maker. Not necessarily a professional ‘Machinima maker’. We respect the work that ‘pioneer’ Machinima producers have made, and the EXTREME skills they’ve shown in coaxing convincing performances out of game engines, ‘traditional’ 3D tools, and ‘pre-viz’ products like Antics. However, we don’t necessarily ‘aspire’ to following the same routes they have to making their films – animated, or otherwise. What matters at the end of the day is the final product (the film) – not how many hoops you had to jump through (even though as I said, the guys who’ve done it the ‘hard’ way definitely get all deserved props for it) to make it.

That’s why – at least for me (and I suspect the rest of the steadily growing Moviestorm user-base), Moviestorm have made nothing but the RIGHT choices in their choice of interface paradigm, and overall application design. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, it’s blisteringly fast, it hides a lot of surprisingly advanced features under the hood – and in a few hours work (without even reading the sparse documentation, just doing two tutorials) I was able to conceive, execute and render a short-film concept in 3D complete with dialogue, auto-lipsync, and camera movements from scratch.

Something which, alas, I couldn’t do with Antics – or any other piece of software I’ve tried over the years !

[end rant]

Thanks for listening ;)

Pete

[POST-SCRIPT 21/07/07]: So I just found out today from having more of a read of Mike’s blog, that he’s actually the Head of Technological Arts at the International Film School in Sydney (a film-maker’s ‘college’ offering courses that will set you back $20K a year in tuition fees !) In fairness to Mike, Johnnie Ingram has pointed out the original article was written in a bit of a ‘devil’s advocate’ mood, and Mike DOES champion ‘open-source’ apps like Celt-X over higher-priced proprietory software on occasion. Nonetheless, I think Mike’s giving Moviestorm more of ‘bum rap’ compared to Antics than it deserves :)

[POST-POST-SCRIPT 22/07/07]: As you’ll see from the edited post-script above (and the comments), Johnny INGRAM left a comment on my blog ! As Paris Hilton would say – that is like SO cool. Seriously … Bloodspell … Strange Company … Moviestorm … Johnny Ingram ! And NO – for once I’m NOT being sarcastic. Thanks Johnny !

So I’ve tried various ways to make Machinima over the years, but the problem has always been that I SUCK at 3D. A few days ago though, I found a new bit of software called Movie Storm, and for once it does what it says on the box – makes Machinima creation relatively painless.

Here’s my first effort – a little short I’ve called ‘The Blinky Conundrum’ – let me know what y’all think !


The Blinky Conundrum – HD from Czechboy Films on Vimeo.

Doing a quick ‘blog post’ like the cool kids – vblog stylee, before we piss off overseas for a few weeks !

EDIT 17/07/08: Currently offline – moving it to a different Youtube account from my ‘movie’ stuff !

So, my first thoughts on seeing last night’s ‘Launch’ show of BB08 -

Re-Krystal

More thoughts on BB08 to come :)

Hey guys,

Another plug for some vids I’ve got up on Youtube – one’s an (older) original track of mine, and the other is a remix of the new Vile Evils single I just did the other day (slow day at work hehe).

As always, let me know what y’all think …

So I’ve been keeping busy again with work and other stuff (big surprise there, huh ?)

Haven’t managed to write any new posts for ages, but I did manage to put together another little trailer mash-up, now doing the rounds on YouTube. I think it’s definitely better than the first one (although the former has also been redubbed and tweaked now, coz I finally have a decent mic at home).

Have a squiz, and please share this with your mates if you like it !

Whoever said I don’t give away stuff to my loyal readers (all 3 of them hehe) ?

Well, they were wrong !

Here for your designing pleasure is a free (hopefully cool) font I made all by myself from scratch in Illustrator and Fontforge. Kind of trying to evoke that ‘old school’ Designer’s Republic aesthetic (hence the reason the font is called Sheffield).

Here’s a quick preview of what it looks like -

PL Sheffield Caps Preview

And HERE’S where you can download it !

For those playing at home, this font is free to use in all personal (i.e. non-commercial) projects, and remains the copyright of yours truly. For commercial use, please contact me.

Let me know what you think guys !

DB

UPDATED 11/02/08:
I’ve got a Mac OS-X compatible version up now as well – download is HERE’S

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