These magic spells. There’s always a catch.

Yes, Bob actually went out and shot some windblown candle-flames for this page. Obviously Max-The-Artist hardly needs them, and what really sells it is all the glowing highlights he added to the art, but hey. It’s a team effort.

As stated before, we may get bogged down with Day Jobs, but we are working from a script so you don’t have to worry that we got lost or didn’t know what to do next. Max-The-Artist even claims he may have some more free time coming soon, but since Bob knows the circumstances it’s probably best not to to hold him to that. Just keep plugging along.

Votey!

And more below!


Bobservations

Natural Talent

 

Witchcraft aside, it’s always amazing to see someone who just flat-out has a gift at something. Sure, the prodigies at math and music get most of the attention, but there’s plenty of other aspects to life. I’ve already mentioned my wife’s ability to become New Best Friends with absolutely anyone, and my sister’s ability to do the same with animals. Michelangelo was famous for being able to just whang statues out of hunks of marble without doing a whole lot of initial planning first, and I think we’ve all seen Youtube videos of people who can do the same with a chainsaw and strangely-shaped logs. They may not be timeless classics, but they’re sure a lot better than I’d ever be able to do, and I think the most amazing thing is that they just know that they can do it. They look at a strangely shaped log and hey, no problem. Know exactly what it’s going to become.

I sort of wonder what their life would have been like before chainsaws.

Working with CGI animators often gets astounding that way. Sure, they all have skills and training, but even there you start to see the differences between the ones who are good and the ones who have a gift. I watched a lead animator do an entire scene using nothing but numbers and some strange interlinked lines in a two-dimensional flow chart shaped like a bizarre tree; and at the end of it he toggled a render and suddenly there was a gorgeous 3D Megatron giving a delightfully evil chuckle, complete with bemused expression and a chin-waggle. Somehow he’d made that happen without needing to have a 3D model onscreen to push and tweak around. To me it was kind of like the guys in the Matrix reading the code streams as images.

Then there was the time a carpenter of my acquaintance was helping me build a seamless backdrop. It sloped out against the floor, so there wasn’t a line, and the two sides went out at a curved angle, and they were sloped. And curved where they met the back wall.

Well, all that wasn’t easy, but it was doable with thin plywood. You could probably do it yourself.

But then, there was the bottom corners, where the curved walls and sloped floors met the back wall and its sloped floor. Leaving a weird, sort-of-triangular hole with all curved sides, sloping in three dimensions. Didn’t know what to do there. I told the carpenter not to worry about it; the few times we’d see it I’d deal with it in After Effects. But this carpenter wasn’t giving up. Despite not even graduating high school, he was a skilled craftsman who should have been a contractor except a tough life in his youth meant too many felonies on his record. A great guy now, a caring father and honest workman; but still intimidating with his beard and biker tattoos. And he was glaring at these damned holes in his beautifully constructed backdrop, and stewing…

Then suddenly he grabbed a tape measure and a pencil and made some fast measurements of the holes, and then grabbed two leftover ends of thin plywood, clamped them together, and did something with that tape measure and pencil to make three sweeping arcs on the plywood. With a jigsaw, cut out two strangely shaped triangles that were obviously too big for the holes.

Until he shoved the bits of wood in the corners and gave them a kick. POP! they snapped right into the holes, curving in all three dimensions to fit the corners beautifully. My jaw dropped.

Maybe it wasn’t witchcraft, but it was magic enough for me.

— Bob out