please forgive your useless sister.

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rtil's News

Posted by rtil - April 5th, 2008

this summer i'll be working at a locally based animation studio called Plexipixel. They specialize in - you guessed it - flash! They're starting to dip into 3D stuff too, but at least it's maya, which is my 3D program of choice. BUT! this is really cool. it means i won't have to sign up for a cartoon network internship, which would've been great except for the fact that it's 500 miles away and unpaid. this is a real job (worth class credit eheheh) and it's only 15 minutes away from where I live.

their website is http://www.plexipixel.com. They've done flash work for Microsoft, Napster, Universal Studios, Real Networks, the studio behind the esurance commericals, Ghostbot, and a lot more. i can't wait to work there and show 'em what i got. it's my first animation job ever, and i'm not even out of school yet.

and one thing is for sure, the work will be much more rewarding than school recently. at school, it's like i'm having 5 jobs instead of one, and they're all demanding eachother's alloted time. and we don't do flash work either.

but eh, school is done on april 22nd, and i start work in mid-may. but until the 22nd things are going to be pretty hectic. not only is it finals, but i'm moving out of my apartment into a bigger one with 5 other people. it's practically down the street, but i'm on the 3rd floor and my room is a disaster.

i've been trying REALLY hard to finish a cartoon i started on valentine's day.. it's not even 2 minutes long. that gives you an idea of how much school has taken over my life. but i like how it's turning out and it should be done really soon, depending on how quickly i finish all my school and moving business. and i should have time to do flash over the summer even with my job. there's no possible way my job will be as hard as my school (if it was i would have to remove sleeping from my schedule entirely).

so uhhh yeah!!!! here's a dumb screenshot from my dumb cartoon!

p.s. if you haven't seen Chowder on CN yet, WATCH IT

I'M HIRED! and new cartoon soon

Posted by rtil - March 19th, 2008

1 month left until school is out. it's always this time of the year flash takes a complete halt as i spend day and night finishing final projects. my main one is a 30-second 3D short i've been working on... i won't be plauging newgrounds with it for two reasons, one because i don't think 3D (generated outside of flash) really belongs, here and i don't think it's going to be that great.

the 3D pipeline is really something else. instead of having complete control of your canvas - like in 2D - you're completely bounded by what you know about the software. you could be the best animator in the world but become entirely handicapped in 3D software. and to make matters worse you're usually troubleshooting/debugging half the time, and half of those issues come from renders which you have to wait around for.

it's frustrating because i recently saw 'horton hears a who', and they're really starting to break the barrier between 2D and 3D. the movie had a very seussian atmosphere, which in its essence is very unlike a 3D environment. a world made out of polygons vs a world made out of noodles and limbless contraptions. but in the movie, everything came to life like it should have. it really was incredible. but i can't imagine how much work their team of animators and artists put into that film.

still, i think with the same budget a 2D seuss film would look more incredible and lively. the reason why studios like Blue Sky and Pixar are successful is because all their employees come from a strong 2D background. that's the mistake disney made - they literally fired all of their traditional artists and animators and replaced them with people who were only familiar with the software. and what did you get? horrible films that nobody saw or will remember. it's funny that they had to literally purchase the pixar name just to stay alive.

no matter how far 3D pushes the envelope, i will always pursue and try to keep 2D alive. there were two very short (but sweet) 2D segments in the horton movie, it made me really happy. there's a charm to a hand-drawn piece of work that something artificially sculpted will never have. i can't put my finger on it and i can't describe it in words, but there is life in a 2D image that a 3D one can never replace. you've got so many people today obsessed with realism and pixel-perfect high definition images. but we're getting to the point now where i'm looking at trailers for new games and movies and wondering how much more realistic can we get? it's not all that exciting anymore, and the box office can no longer rely on the audience being oohed and ahhed by CG because we've seen all there is to see.

realism in animation really inhibits the imagination. and i think the reason why is because it goes against everything animation is about - making visual comments about the real world through abstract ideas. you exaggerate things to make them stand out in your own style. and if everyone's doing photorealistic rendering work, how does that make you any different from the person sitting at the computer next to you? it's so mechanical, i really can't stand it.

anyway i think you get my point. it's probably a matter of taste to most people, but to me i see a lot more charm and thoughtfulness in the simplest sketch than the most detailed and realistic rendering of what have you.

that being said, here's a horrible render of my 3d thing. when it's done i'll probably shove it on my website if anyone actually wants to see it, then get right back to my best friend flash.

1 month left

Posted by rtil - February 26th, 2008

A few months ago ashford pride made a movie with a foreboding title. It was called "Awesome Grounds".

Well ladies and gentlemen, that's might as well what this site should be called (at least right now), with the top row on the front page slot dedicated to an "awesome" movie and an "awesome" parody, an "awesome" t-shirt in the newgrounds store, and pretty much every "awesome" movie in the top 100, along with han's "awesome's creed".

I can't go to newgrounds with seeing something not about egoraptor or his coveted video game parody series. It makes me wonder sometimes if pursuing anything but half-assed cartoons making mildly funny observations about video games laced with profanity is even worth it. Truly, they are what bring the masses of 13-year olds to this site, and thus increases traffic and competition in the internet world. But you have to ask yourself, with this sort of two-bit audience increasing in numbers, are they really interested in watching anything else?

I understand that it's a dog eat dog world in the online entertainment business, and to compete you have to pretty much put up content that a majority of internet browsers would click on. This includes either women or video games. Things they already know they want. And that's all they want. They sign up, watch more, and come back and do it again later. They're trained to know that what they want is easily accessible and is promoted all over the site.

Original content is often shuffled off to the bottom of the page, or never gets any attention to begin with. Now comes into play the whole 'they won't click on it unless there's a boob for the icon', etc etc. That's because they've been fashioned to think that way.

I'm not saying i have all the mysterious answers to the way people's minds work. But this much is true - if all people click on are breasts and video game icons, and you give them breasts and video game icons, you're not pushing the envelope.

Newgrounds is the epitome of user-generated content. We already have a massive advantage over youtube in the fact that making a cartoon involves so much more creativity than snappily editing your webcam footage. So instead of 200 cartoons coming out every minute, we have 200 cartoons coming out every day. That gives someone a better chance of breaking out and being discovered for his hard work, and a reward for a job well done.

But in the same way that viewers are trained that they don't have to go out of their way to avoid original content they would otherwise enjoy, authors are becoming more and more disenchanted with their personal creations and are turning to nerd culture icons and cheap tactics to get viewers.

I can't tell you how many animators I have spoken to that have shunned their own creations in favor of sub-pop culture parody and disjointed scripts sprinkled with toilet humor and profanity. a cartoon catering to everyone who's forgotten what cartoons are all about. And here we are shoving away everything about cartoons that was originally appealing and magical, because we're pretty much forced to.

I'm not pointing the finger at any one person here. I think it's part of the bigger picture - bigger than Newgrounds, too. But if people really care about the future of cartoons and animation, we wouldn't be seeing this kind of blatant favoritism.

People will find what they want if they want it. They don't need to be spoon fed it all.

For thirty years animators who strive to create something genuinely unique have gotten nothing but a slap in the face. It's sickening and it has to stop someday, before they all disappear.

Lastly, this post is not about me. I'm not writing this out of self-pity, bitterness or spite. I'm being honest. I care a lot about the future of animation, and what I see around me is very troubling. The industry is bad enough, but where the future lies is in the small corners of the animation world. Newgrounds is one of them. I spend a lot of time trying to encourage and teach frame-by-frame animation, and creating your own characters and scripts. That is what is important to me. If I really cared about being popular, my list of flash cartoons would look a lot different.

Below is a lovely review describing the bright future of newgrounds.

awesome grounds


Posted by rtil - January 3rd, 2008

new cartoon in the portal everyone
it's very different from anything i've made
it was a gift for my best friend sobakasu/blvd-square
you can visit her page here
and the cartoon is here
below is a random screenshot from it
100% original "sprites" made with free pixel tools extension

edit: for download and installation instructions for Pixel Tools 2 for flash, visit Flash Extensions on Anipedia, a page i made today documenting lots of free flash extensions with download links and instructions.

c'mon everybody and move your feet!

Posted by rtil - January 1st, 2008

Someone pointed this out to me and i thought it was pretty cool so i'd share it with you guys.

i don't normally talk about stats and numbers and things but for the end of the year i might as well. somewhere near the end of the year marked 1,000+ watchers on newgrounds, deviantart and sheezyart. i'm pretty sure deviantart was the last place it happened. so in total that's over 3,000 (possibly) different people that are watching my work . very cool.

since i discovered that i took the time to compile some more cool stats for '07:
230 new members on thebackalleys.com (my site) forums, making 317 total
23,372 posts made on the forums, making 25,373 total
700,552 unique hits on thebackalleys.com, 1 million unique hits reached in mid-august
657 pages, 143 articles, 390 members and 26,396 unique hits since August 18th, 2007 (opening date) on Anipedia
and i released the first Project Freetown cartoon :)

so thanks guys for all your support and encouragement this year, next year will be twice as cool.

and after all those meaningless numbers, i guess i'll say i'll be releasing a new cartoon later tonight.

below is a cropped new piece of art. you can see it at my site, my deviantart or sheezyart.

the year 3000 in rtil land

Posted by rtil - November 24th, 2007

Hey guys. This thanksgiving break gave me a chance to develop templates on Anipedia - the internet's first animation, flash and art encyclopedia - for people to write tutorials. The votes were in and just about half of over 170 voters said that they wanted to develop tutorials for everyone. So I went right ahead and started you guys off.

I wrote the first complete tutorial last night on motion tweening. This is the template for how all tutorials should look. But what do you guys think of the article? Does it cover everything? Is it easy to follow? Would you use it if you needed a resource?

The best thing about Anipedia is that everyone can edit it. If you think that someone missed something or want to work on multiple tutorials, you can. If you aren't already a member (over 300 people are), go to the Anipedia front page, sign up, read the 3 steps at the beginning and get writing! There are templates and example pages for you to follow, and if you have any questions me and two other sysops are ready to answer questions at any time.

I don't think there are a lot of extensive and quality sets of flash and animation tutorials in one place. I want Anipedia to be the ultimate resource for artists and animators alike. And I can't do it alone, so whatever you can contribute would be great.

Anyway, I never talk about my flash and stuff so i figured i'd update you guys. Project Freetown 2 is under progress. I have written a 14-page detailed screenplay. The reason why is that the biggest complaint about the first episode is the lack of depth and story. I didn't want it to have a deep story or character development (it was just a fun race), but I was planning to compensate for that in episode 2 anyway. This next episode will focus on the beginnings of the story of Erelli, a self-employed detective who lives a life on the run from a ridiculous crime of his past. How he will tie into Violet and Ravi doesn't come until much later, but he will experience a radical change in his life in episode 2. This screenplay will probably branch off into 2 separate episodes as the animation and length of it may be quite long. I don't want it to take another year to release a new Freetown as well.

That being said, school is seriously putting a damper on any real progress on the art and animation. Not only that, but there are numerous other original series and satirical pieces I want to work on. It's very frustrating, and sometimes I wish school would just go away, but I know that's not gonna happen. I'll be doing as much as I can during the breaks this winter and next spring to make big jumps in progress. All I've gotta say is that a 21 credit semester is just about impossible to handle. You're always catching up on work and there's never a moment of rest. It's been really draining for me and I hate having to work on projects in little spurts.

Speaking of little spurts, I have a small cartoon called "TWEEN: A Flash Odyssey" that i'm going to release on the last Daily Day for the Star Syndicate this November 30th. Some of you have probably already seen it, it's just a short parody cartoon turning making a tween into an monumental effort. I made it one friday when by chance i had a sort of day off, kind of like yesterday.

i've probably written too much by now, so i'll leave you with a painfully small version of a painting i did last week. you can see the full version here.

look forward to hearing from you

animation and flash tutorials!

Posted by rtil - November 3rd, 2007

hey everyone
hopefully some of you remember Anipedia, my animation encyclopedia project. If not, please read this first. Anyway, it's time for Anipedia to go into a new direction. And you get to vote on what comes next. I don't want to develop templates for a part of it no one is interested in, so you can help by picking your favorite choice here (the poll on the right).

flash-wise i have a cartoon i'm going to submit in a couple of days possibly, and i am working on the script for Project Freetown episode 2. Don't expect it for a long time, though. my school demands a lot of my time, so much that i only really have one day out of the week for myself. hopefully i can make some big jumps on it this christmas break. there's other cartoons i want to make as well , but i doubt i will get to them anytime soon.

sometimes i wish i didn't have to go to school and i could just animate all day. i wouldn't care if i was dirt poor, just as long as i had enough to get by to do what i love to do is all that would matter to me.

the backalleys
my sheezyart
my deviantart

Posted by rtil - September 7th, 2007

my latest flash is out, it's the intro to my new series, project freetown. i hope it will get those of you who don't know about it interested in the series, characters , style and setting. i have big plans for it. anyway, i hope you enjoy it, check it out if you haven't
click here

project freetown:metropolis circuit is out

Posted by rtil - August 18th, 2007

Anipedia is going to be the first comprehensive online encyclopedia focusing on the flash community, world and software. I'm sure many of you on Newgrounds know of FlashWiki, however I feel FlashWiki is unorganized and has no focus.

Anipedia is going to be built from the ground up, moving from project to project until we have a place for everyone.

I think everyone deserves their own article if they have contributed something to the flash community. And so that's where I want to start first. The front page of Anipedia explains it all: http://anipedia.thebackalleys.com. You can get building today, starting with an encyclopedic entry about yourself. It's easier than you think. :)

Are you interested? Please leave your feedback here and let me know what you think of this idea. I hope that you sign up and start today. I need people who are willing to learn wiki syntax, code and are excited to contribute to a go-to community with all information an animator could need. I can't do it alone, and I gladly accept any help.

When Anipedia is in full sail, it will include:
1. Information on flash artists, animators, programmers and voice actors
2. Information on collabs, flash groups and portals
3. The latest on animation, art and sound based software
4. Tutorials, tips and tricks
5. The history of animation and art
6. A communication portal for people to find others with similar tastes

And a lot of other things. Besides my animations, this is my next big ongoing project. I hope that you will be part of it.

edit: there is also now a section on my forum for anipedia. since wiki doesn't serve as a good forum, detailed discussions about ideas, suggestions and development should go there. click here to go to the forum and sign up.

Want to be part of something big?

Posted by rtil - July 31st, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con 2007
This was my 3rd year at the Comic-Con in San Diego. This was easily my favorite year, despite most reports coming back surprisingly negative. I'm not sure what their problems were, I couldn't get enough of this place. Yeah, it did start a little lame, waiting Thursday noontime for about two hours just to get in even though I was pre-registered, and the freebie table being a bit lame this year, but after that it went nowhere but up.

I got my portfolio reviewed by a few people including Mattel, Cartoon Network representitives from the internship program, a staffer on new cartoon Chowder, and finally the creator of PPG and Foster's Craig McCracken and his wife, Lauren Faust. I learned a lot from them, and hope to come with a stronger portfolio for next year. It was my first time having my portfolio reviewed by f. Faust and McCracken had a booth for Lauren's new cartoon venture entitled Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls, an idea of taking the planets and giving them characters, each with their own personalities that people can choose from. She is interested in developing it into an animated series hopefully next year. I got a button and an autographed poster as a gift. I also spoke to Craig about Foster's and animation in general and got an autographed book from him as a gift entitled "Wander over Yonder", a sketchbook he did as a personal project away from his job to sketch whatever he wanted. It is a charming sketch book and I can see him doing more of them in the future, that is if he has the time. I have to say McCracken is the most tired person I have ever seen in my life. He has these bags under his eyes that look as if they have developed due to lack of sleep for at least a decade. Which would make sense because the Powerpuff Girls are celebrating their tenth anniversary.

I also was given an original cell from the Powerpuff Girls at the "Acme" booth, where they sport many original paintings and cels. It's a pencil frame of "HIM" with his arms wrapped around the three girls with a huge smile on his face. I can't get enough of it. I wanted so many other cels, but they are very expensive. The most expensive cel I came across was at some anime booth, it was $2,500. Not sure what the anime was, but it looked to be from the 70's or 80's. It was painted and included the background. A typical cell will cost you anywhere between $150 and $300, depending on what's going on in the cel, the popularity of the show and the level of finish. It is amazing to see how much life is in a single frame of quality animation. Sometimes you forget.

Visited many other places, as many as I could. Of course, one of these places was the Newgrounds booth. It was a big step up from the Behemoth booth of last year. Nice display case for the new shirts, figurines and handouts. The xbox 360's sporting Alien Hominid and a fresh Castle Crashers demo were occupied literally all the time. Side-by-side, Castle Crashes is a huge improvement over Alien Hominid in all aspects. On the other side of the booth Tom was answering questions and chatting it up with quite a few Newgrounds regulars. I met Tom, Mindchamber, Luis, Anigen, The-Swain, ActionBeaver, sugarpolyp from deviantart, and many others. I had no idea how many Newgrounds members would show up, and I didn't even met the ones that were coming on Sunday only, because sadly I had to leave early (6AM) Sunday morning. Why? For what is the best show I have ever seen in my life, DAFT PUNK at the WaMu theater in Seattle.

It was a nice little topping to end what was probably the most fun I've ever had in 4 consecutive days. I even got a little Vegeta thing I can hang from my phone. what more could you ask for. anyway, this is getting too long, so i'll end it right here, and post a pic of the sweet PPG cell i got. (sorry, i'm not gonna scan it, don't want the paper to shuffle around in the case too much - graphite smears).

comic-con pics
daft punk pics

Comic-Con '07 recap