Friday, November 30, 2012

Stuck Home

I mentioned 'Homestuck' before when I spoke about web - comics. Admittedly it probably shouldn't have because, as the author Andrew Hussie clearly states, "[he] doesn't simply draw Homestuck." It's a quote more telling that meets the eye. 'Homestuck' is not something simply drawn and posted on the Internet for all to see, and it's a interesting example of what future art could be.

Though to do that, we have to discuss the burning question on multiple minds: 'what is Homestuck?' To answer, Homestuck is about four 13 year olds, John, Rose, Dave, and Jade, they play a video game. Spoilers ahoy!: Then the video game plays them. The game in question leads to the destruction of their planet, introduces them to an alien species called Trolls, and gives them a lot of enemies (which, to give you a heads up on what to expect, includes Betty Crocker and a puppet). In turns out the purpose of their game is to sacrifice one world to create a brand new universe, which they later do. At this moment, the fandom is watching the adventures of four new kids: Jade, Roxy, Dirk, and Jake.

But on the surface of that quote, you could say Hussie meant that Homestuck wasn't such drawn, it was also animated by flash. Music accompanied various pages so you not only saw art, you heard it too. You can also hear the fans' (often known as Homestucks) excitement whenever a [S] link appears.

More to the point however is the fact that Hussie creates elements of the story based on fan reaction. For instance, take the recentally introduced Calliope, Caliborn. To summarize, Calliope (green eyes above) is a cherub, a green - skinned, bald species that has to live by certain magic rules. One of said rules is having a 'sibling' inside their body, in her case Caliborn (red eyes below). Calliope and Caliborn, since another rule dictates that they are chained to one side of the room for each of them, interact with others (like four of the human protagonists) using a computer that lets see Jane, Jake, Dirk, and Roxy (said four human protagonists). The cherubs however, come from a different time than the humans, so to them a lot of the adventures the humans will have have gone by. Calliope, after reading their stories, is an avid fan of the kids, Caliborn, who's also read their stories, hates everything about them.

Meaning, their practically the fandom and the anti - fandom personified (chreubified?)

Calliopes has written fanfiction and draw fanart just as the readers of Homestuck have. Caliborn has grouched about the developments of the plots and loathes most of the new characters, just as those who complain about Homestuck have. If it weren't for the audience and their reactions in the first place, neither of these characters might exist.

It's interesting because this time in history may be the first to have an art medium that reacts to the audience. Obviously the artists of the past could hear and respond to criticisms of their works but Homestuck represents something beyond just that. The art in this case changes because of the onlookers, ideas of the fandom become part of what they are fanning about.

Also,  fan drawings and fan music (yes, fans have submit music based on Homestuck) have become used for Homestuck CDs, which is a lot more exciting to the lucky fan than if they just listened to music one author made. In a way, it might be more enticing to people who aren't normally comic/art/music infinicados. It's more to go to the beach and feel the sun and the waves crash over your skin than just watch it happening on TV.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Computer Animated Fun, er, Films

I was looking over an old-ish Cracked Article, where the writer Bell celebrates some of the most surreal movie scences that weren't made by CGI (computer generated imagery). Whether it's Batman flipping over an eighteen wheeler or astronuts floating in the weighlessness of space earth the title insists that "...You Won't Believe [They] Aren't CGI."

But that brings up and interesting point, CGI has become such a stable in 21th century films, it's already assumed any movie miracle is simply the deus ex machina making it happen. Nearly fifty years after Ivan Sutherland made "Sketchpad" for his TX-2 Compter, computer graphics have exploded into mainstream use, so much so that plenty of movies only consist of CGI. Thus the realm of computer animated films was born (specifically, it was born with Toy Story, the first fully computer animated film). They not only manage do well when compared to live - action movies, but they sometimes do better: be it in fan approval (to be fair, that review taking traditionally made cartoon movies as well) or in US box office numbers.

The box office numbers aspect is interesting since it turns out computer animated movies like WALL-E and Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa cost more to make than each movie of the Star Wars trilogy. The truth is, all the work put into computer animation for a whole movie might not be worth it financial speaking. For example, Tangled might be consindered a failure if we're only taking domestic sales into account. Even though it earned over $200 million in the US box office, the price of Rapunzel and her hair-raising adventure was $260 million.

But true to the adage “not all that glitters is gold,” the money drained into and gained by computer animated films aren’t what make them worthwhile. To continue with our movie about the lengthy haired heroine, Tangled generally got  positive reviews. This film, and many other - including the following Pixar Disney Princess's film Brave, which was praised for its breathtaking computer graphics, prove that these digitally made movies have a place in the modern entertainment world.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last Night The VJ Saved My Life

Most of us here know what a DJ is. He or she mixes music tracks together for partygoers and club-hoppers. Thus it’s not all that surprising that the DJ is common subject of music itself: “Hey, Mr. DJ, put a record on, I wanna dance with my baby…” melds to “…DJ got us falling in love again” thanks of these guys, so a reference now and then seems like a good way to tribute the melody mixers.

But then, how come there aren’t any drawings of VJs?

For those who answered: “’Cause I don’t know what a VJ is!” then you should know that a A VJ is pretty much the visual add - on of a DJ, they create, blend, and mix images – usually while doing the same to music. This seems simple at first but it’s becoming an noteworthy art. Now there are events around the world like Mapping Festival and Vision'R solely for VJs and numerous people and universities have been studying the philosophical aspects of VJ. Technology required for VJing costs $ 2000 dollars – and this is considered a “magical” price according to the Create Digital Motion blog. It's 2K  that will enable individuals to practice their art apart from institutions.

But I can also relate to Kirn’s excitement about the potential of VJing becoming more of an indie art.  Art after all, is about creativity, showing things in a light that they’ve never been shown before, expressing the artist’s soul. It’s possible that with companies or other parties involved the will of the visual artist can get drowned out like in the infamous Public Image Limited riot at the Ritz Hotel in 1981 (to be fair, the problems weren't only because of the visuals in question).  

Point is, the art of VJing deserves some credit now and then too, because for a long while - since Louis-Bertrand Castel invented a stringed instrument with with mobile see-through colored tapes he dubbed the color organ in 1743 – it’s been a less noted but increasingly essential part of how music is enjoyed and how art is conveyed.

*The chart was found on Wikipedia and made by Carriegates