Final Fantasy 7: An Oral History

Fascinating in-depth history at polygon:

Today, it sits above a Doutor coffee shop a few doors from a train station in a busy part of Hiyoshi, Yokohama.

Visit the building and you won’t see a plaque commemorating the history or remnants of a company whose characters now model Louis Vuitton clothes and sell millions of games. Yet on that spot in 1983, inside his father’s office space, founder Masafumi Miyamoto began a development studio called Square.

Initially, it wasn’t even a formally-designated company. It was a room where people came and went.

Some describe the company in its early days as a family business. One of Square’s first hires, Shinichiro Kajitani, joined simply because he was friends with Miyamoto and compares the young studio to a college club. Another, Hironobu Sakaguchi, designed games while working part time.

“We treated it like a hobby, not a career,” says longtime Square composer Nobuo Uematsu. “We just wanted to do what we liked. We weren’t worried about our salaries or living situations or thinking, ‘Where is this company going?’”

But people grow up and things change.

There are some good sections on two very important artists that played important roles at Square: Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

Cartoon Figures: Part 1

Simple Cartoon Figure Drawing

Simple is probably the wrong word. Veteran students might recall the times I’ve shown the work of artists and described their work as deceptively simple. When I say that what I’m getting at is that an artist’s work may seem superficially simple but  there is often a great deal of complexity hidden underneath the image. In order to achieve a simple look and do it really well requires a great deal of skill, technique, and thoughtfulness on the part of the artist.

Anyhow, we’ll discuss those aspects of simplicity more in class. For now, let’s move on:

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Fashion & Costume: Part 1

As part of your visual development work we need to think about dressing your characters. The clothes worn by a character, and how they wear them, are another aspect to consider as you develop the personality of a given character and place them in the world you’re creating.

Part 1: Introduction to Fashion & Costume

In part 1 of our Fashion & Costume post series we’ll be considering some basic questions about how to approach this element of character design in a thoughtful way. Does your character exist in a specific historic time period? Can your character’s clothing place them in proper context within the world you’re building? Do clothing choices tell us where the character lives or what time of year it is? What questions do clothing choices answer for your characters?

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Have A Warm & Cozy Winter Break

I would like to thank my students for a great fall semester. Hopefully everyone finds plenty of time for rest and relaxation over winter break. Those of you that still need to finish or shoot your animation will find plenty of opportunities to do that during sketch journal time in January and February. Until then: drink cocoa, curl up with a good book/video game, and enjoy your well deserved break.

Image Credit: Pixel Fireplace Application by Hex-Ray Studios 

Mickey in France – Part 3: Mickey’s Craziest Adventures by Keramidas & Trondheim

Glénat, French publisher of bande dessinée (comic books) has recently partnered with Disney to license French language comics featuring Mickey Mouse and friends. In a three part series, we will take a look at three of the artists and their work.

| Part 1: Loisel | Part 2: Cosey | Part 3: Keramidas & Trondheim |

Keramidas & Trondheim

Two old hands in the French Comics world, Nicolas Keramidas and Lewis Trondheim finish off our Mickey in France series with Mickey’s Craziest Adventures.

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Mickey in France – Part 2: The Melody Mystery by Cosey

Glénat, French publisher of bande dessinée (comic books) has recently partnered with Disney to license French language comics featuring Mickey Mouse and friends. In a three part series, we will take a look at three of the artists and their work.

| Part 1: Loisel | Part 2: Cosey | Part 3: Keramidas & Trondheim |

Cosey

French comic book artist Cosey has created an interesting look for his Mickey comic; faithful to the 1920s/30s aesthetic of early Disney comics while still infused with the style fans of Cosey are familiar with.

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Mickey in France – Part 1: Cafe Zombo by Loisel

Glénat, French publisher of bande dessinée (comic books) has recently partnered with Disney to license French language comics featuring Mickey Mouse and friends. In a three part series, we will take a look at three of the artists and their work.

| Part 1: Loisel | Part 2: Cosey | Part 3: Keramidas & Trondheim |

Loisel

French comic book artist Regis Loisel, working with Disney and the French Comics publisher Glenat, has produced a most interesting comic book inspired by Floyd Gottfredson’s work in the late 20’s and early 30’s.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your nine day weekend!

When we get back to school we will have three weeks to wrap up the Fall semester animation project before winter break starts. Many of you have already started shooting your animation and I’m sure they’ll be plenty more ready to do the same throughout the month of December. Full steam ahead!

StoryBots

Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew on StoryBots:

The show was set up “in a way that individual artists can make big contributions,” Spiridellis says. “There isn’t a style that runs through the whole show.” The show has “anchors”—for example, when the Storybots enter the human world, they always appear in cg, while at Storybots headquarters, they have an outline-less 2D look.

But other sequences are open to the interpretation of the artists. “That really enables us to let the team do what they do best,” explains Spiridellis. “Which means, ‘Hey you like painting this way?’ ‘Well, paint that way.’ ‘You like making puppets?’ ‘Go make a puppet.’” Link

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