Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 38: Meet the Artist

So Instagram is doing this Meet the Artist thing and it seemed like a fun way to get my daily done. Here's me.

Day 38: Meet the Artist

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 2: Grizz 'n Grind

Well it's Day 2 and I'm still going strong.  Decided it would be fun to do a timelapse with this one. I haven't done that in a little while and it seemed appropriate.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

365 Project: Character a Day

In an effort to do a lot of things more, I am attempting a 365 Project of my own starting right this very second. I was going to wait until the year started and do it all perfect-like, but I got bored and thought why wait. As the title of this post explains, I will be trying to specifically draw a character every day. Media will change, time spent will surely change, and even delivery may change. If I have a particularly light day I may even do a little animation. Regardless, I will do my very best to put forth a new character every day. As I said earlier, this is to get me doing things more. Things like sketching, blogging, posting to Instagram. It's very easy when you have consistent work to just do something else at the end of the day; but I want to keep my personal work thriving. I also want to grow more as an artist. I'm also at the point in my career where I could easily let myself slip, and I don't want to. There are a few outcomes I'm looking for with this project. For one, I'd like to see my Instagram get some more love. I believe, posting every single day will be a nice experiment to see how it effects my followers. I also think it's just cool to see how far you've come in a year when you do something every single day.

That's it for now. I'f you'd like to follow my progress, you can click on the '365 Project' tab at the top of my blog. Or you can follow me on Instagram at chriskolsh.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Photoshop Animation: A New Journey

It's been quite a while since I've posted on this blog. My Instagram feed on the side is always updating, you can always follow me there for quick hits. Also my Illustration and Photography page auto update when I add to my Flickr, so there is always new work to be seen.  Still, my day to day blogging has been lacking as of late.  Like most blogs it comes in waves. I commend anyone who can blog every day all day. It really becomes like a second job when you do that. Plus, I've been quite busy freelancing as of late, and most of that stuff I'm not aloud to just openly share my process on. However, I have been dabbling more into some personal things and it's time I got off my lazy ass and posted more.

Recently I've been trying to develop a new skill-set in Photoshop animation. I've always thought the Timeline option in Photoshop was really cool, but I've always been weary to dive into it. Doing frame by frame animation takes a lot more patience and time to get to that final product. I've grown pretty quick in my abilities to use Illustrator and After Effects to animate, so that excuse wasn't cutting it anymore. The bottom line is, if I want to make this part of my process, I need to practice to get quick at it. Just like I did with Illustrator. I've approached this in 2 forms so far: Pixel and Hand Drawn. 


As an avid gamer this only felt like an obvious first step into the ream of the Photoshop Timeline.  For one, making pixel art in Photoshop is quite easy in principle.  You make a tiny canvas (300x300px), and then you color in each pixel until you make something cool.  The process of making a still image is actually quite fun because there isn't much you can do to totally ruin anything.  I started by making a couple character images. One of a favorite video game character of mine, ICO.  The other was a self portrait of myself with my cat.

This much was fairly easy, but I wanted to take it the next step.  So, I began working with my character to try and make a jump animation.  It seems simple enough to start, but when you have to begin bending pixel legs and making 12 or so copies, it gets a little more daunting.  To save some time, instead of drawing the character from scratch each and every time, I would copy and paste bits that didn't change much.  For instance, the torso remains fairly straight for a majority of the animation. Also the head stays the same almost throughout.  Doing this saved me lots of time while only having to focus on arms and legs and any other secondary motion such as the shirt and hair. 20-so frames later I had the jump that I was happy with.

I forgot to mention that I created the animation in a 30fps timeline.  I tried looking up the standard but couldn't really find one.  I wasn't going for the completely old school look, and I know that most modern games today run somewhere between 30fps and 60fps, so I just went with 30.  I also wanted it to look really smooth so I thought this would be better than a typical low animation frame rate. Below is the result in motion.

As you can see those 20 frames zip right by, and about 5 of them are just the hair bounce at the end. But that secondary motion of hair, the shirt, the smoke puff, all really add to the effect of the motion.

Hand Drawn

Now that I had my feet wet in the Photoshop Timeline, I felt I was ready to explore some more hand drawn type animations.  Once again, I thought it best to start off with something I was familiar with.  About a year ago I had sketched a character in my notebook.

I had always really loved this guy and planned to do some animation with him, but just never got around to it.  Creating him in Illustrator just felt like I was cheapening his look.  He was meant to have a hand drawn feel to him.  So, with the same principles in mind from the Pixel animation, I began drawing this guy.  However, starting out was much different.  I had to make a stick figure rendition first to make sure the timing was right.

Once I had this locked down I could begin my shortened process as before.  I made a sketch of the character first. Then, instead of drawing him new everytime, I simply copied and pasted him and used the lasso tool to rotate the limbs and such.  This was the result:

As you can see,  there are some breaks in the lines near his arm. This was the result of me using the lasso tool and moving bits around.  However, it worked to speed up the process. Now I could go through and draw over everything very nicely without worrying about timing or placement.  I did that, and added some color to get the final image:
This process really taught me a lot, and I took it to the next level on my next project. Someone had reached out to me on Instagram asking if I could animate their character removing a sword from a stone, like in Zelda. Being a huge fan of that entire sentence I couldn't possible refuse. So, I began by going through the same set of steps to achieve the animation:
From there I decided to take it a step further. I brought the character and background into After Effects separately so I could do further compositing on the animation as well as give it some slight camera motion. After tweaking the colors, adding some flares and dust, I was pretty pleased with the final result:
I have to say all in all this has been a really fun endeavor and a nice break from business as usual. While I still love making characters in Illustrator, using Duik to rig and animating in After Effects, it's still nice to hone a new skill. That's it for now. I will hopefully be blogging a little more often now. Probably not every day, but at least more than once every 6 months. Also I created a Facebook page specifically for my blog and art. So if you want to support me go over there and like the page. Otherwise check out all my social links on the right side of my blog. You can follow me just about anywhere.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Glenn Davis - Be Honest - UNOFFICIAL Music Video

I recently had the pleasure to work on one of my first full fledged music videos. The musician in question is Glenn Davis of the band Way Yes.  At the end of this month he will be releasing his very first solo album titled Waves & Webs.  Glenn recently helped me create the music for my 2016 reel and as a fellow Ohio native I felt extremely connected to helping him create a video for his single, Be Honest.  His entire album centers around the turmoil that followed a failed marriage, so all of his songs have a shared meaning in love and loss.  Be Honest is unique in that it has a very driving beat and higher energy than his other singles.  When we discussed ideas for the music video we tossed around all things relating to what honesty is and what it means in different forms.  We landed on the idea of chameleons and their ability to shift their colors.  How this effects their ability to be honest or dishonest with their surroundings and who they are.  We took the idea a step further by having a central character who did not want to conform with the ever changing colors he is being bombarded with on a daily basis. With this in mind I took off to sketching out and developing more ideas, characters, and storyboards.

As you can see my sketchbook is very stream of conscious and rough.  I like to spend the majority of my time actually developing the art and animation.  I use my sketches as a quick way to just put my ideas on paper.  I did everything from research about chameleons to looking at all shapes and sizes of the species. Once I had these things locked down I went into creating my characters and assets.  I knew I wanted the look to be vibrant and alive to match the emotion of the song, so instead of using a clean vector look in Illustrator, I decided to use hand drawn elements in Photoshop to give everything a much more textural feeling.

Now that my assets were created, I was free to bring everything into After Effects and just get down to the nitty gritty of rigging and animating.  When rigging characters I use a program called Duik.  This is a free program that works great with setting up character rigs within After Effects.  All you have to do is label and parent your elements properly and you have a working character rig within minutes.

It's a little challenging showing all the layers in one shot, but this is what the set up looks like after the rigging is done and Duik has performed it's magic.  Basically I get a set of about 8 controls that let me easily manipulate the character in a way that makes sense.  Once this is complete with all the various characters I do all my animating.  After many hours and hundreds of keyframes you end up with the music video you see below.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Blacksmith Andre Illustration and Rigging

I recently played through Dark Souls 3 and loved it. I enjoyed it so much I had to create my own animation of one of my favorite NPCs, Blacksmith Andre. I created the illustration in Photoshop and did the animation and rigging in After Effects using Duik.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Sun Maker

A little late to the show, but I'm finally getting around to sharing the film I created with my friends for Sylvania's 2016 Tree City Film Festival. This film was a part of the 50-hour challenge during the festival. This basically means we had 50 hours to write, shoot, and edit a film (not a lot of time for those of you who don't know!) Before the teams break out and begin they are each given a genre (ours was western), a prop (lightbulb), a character name (Robin Chandler), and a line of dialogue ("it's in the trunk."). All of these elements must be incorporated somehow into your film for you to be accepted. So, we got our elements on Friday night and set off into the weekend of work and filming. We honestly used EVERY bit of time we had to make this film come to life, but I've honestly never been more proud of something that I filmed. We shot the whole thing on just my iPhone using the Filmic Pro app and a Moondog Anamorphic lens. After all was said and done I'm happy to say that this year, our 3rd time entering the festival, we won best picture! Ok, enough suspense, please enjoy both the film and the behind-the-scenes below.

Cats - The CATastrophe

I had the privilege of once again mentoring for Sylvania's Shorties U program.  Shorties U is a program in which kids (5th-8th) come together over 4 Saturdays to write, direct, shoot, and edit their very own films.  As a mentor I'm in charge of facilitating the whole production and just trying to keep the kids on rails.  This year our only prompt was to be in the Theatre of the school.  Naturally, we decided to write a film based on auditioning for a play.  Without spoiling anything else, please enjoy our film.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Chris Koelsch - Animation Reel 2016

It's been a crazy start to the year but I've finally been able to get around to finishing my animation reel for 2016. It's always a huge weight off my shoulders to get this done. It also serves as a great way to reflect on what I've done over the past year, how I've grown, and how I want to keep growing. This year I was lucky enough to get some original music from Glenn Davis. A fellow Ohian, Glenn currently resides in Columbus, OH where he can be found playing music solo or with his band Way Yes (I highly suggest checking them out). If you want to listen to more of Glenn's personal work you can go HERE. Well, that's it for now. Check out the reel below and keep your eyes peeled for more animation in the year to come!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Bun House Christmas 2015

Made a little animated holiday card featuring the Bun House crew. I was listening to a lot of Charlie Brown's Christmas while making this and it definitely affected the whole vibe. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Metal Gear Solid V: Snake's Worst Day

This animation was inspired by a series of doodles I was making while playing through Metal Gear Solid V. I enjoyed a lot of the games gadgets and mechanics and thought it would be fun to explore those in an animated short. I also got to test out and play with the most updated version of Duik, which was pretty educational. It is far more robust that the older versions and rigging is now much more powerful.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New Walk Cycles with Duik 15

Yes it's been months since I've updated this ol' thing, but I haven't forgotten about it. I've just been doing a lot of freelance work and not a lot else recently. However, Duik just recently released they update to Duik 15 and it has a lot of awesome new features. The one I was most excited about was the ability to finally rig and animate 4 legged animals. Below are some walk cycles I've done so far with it. The dog isn't perfect but for a first trial I definitely learned a lot.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reddit Gets Drawn (Animated) - 2 - Man with Orange Balloon

It came as quite a surprise to me that after my recent Reddit Gets Animated entry I received a personal message from a fellow Redditor.  In the message they explained how they loved the style and had a friend for whom they wished to do something similar.  Being a good Redditor I could not refuse such a request, so below is the result!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Reddit Gets Drawn (Animated) - 1 - Man in Orange Hoody Holds Cat

As many others do, I often find myself browsing Reddit throughout the day while twiddling my thumbs at work. When I am especially bored I will venture to the subreddit Reddit Gets Drawn. In this particular subreddit various users will submit photos (much like the one I've shown below) and other users will draw them in various ways. I decided to try taking it to the next level and making a short animated .gif of the person instead. I hope to do this more in the future, but here's the first ever Reddit Gets Animated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fox Run

Being slow at work means more run cycle tests. I'm always trying to figure out and get better at animal run cycles...they are a whole different beast.  Here's my attempt at a fox.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

After Effects "2D/3D" Head Turn Rig Tutorial Follow Up - Run and Walk Cycles

So in the post prior to this one I shared a little tutorial I made about created a "2D/3D" character head turn in After Effects.  I played around a little more to see how this would fit into my full body character rig workflow and I was pretty pleased with the results. I even took it a step farther and made a torso turn that was parented to the head turn.  At the end of the day it may not seem like a huge difference, but being able to freely turn a characters head back and forth is a new achievement for me and really opens a lot more doors when it comes to what's possible with some light character animation in After Effects. No tutorial this time, but enjoy a few .gifs of the results.

Monday, May 25, 2015

After Effects "2D/3D" Head Turn Rig Tutorial

Recently I've been wanting to push my animated characters to the next level, and for me that means turning heads. It's the obvious next step in the progression of making your characters that much more dynamic and believable. I've seen many artists rigs and animations with this sort of idea implemented, but I have a tough time finding solid tutorials or guides into how to truly make this rig. However, I did find this video from Ross Plaskow on simply making a 2D head turn.

This is an amazing tutorial to get started and I definitely suggest you watch it before mine; however, this video stopped just 1 step short of where I wanted to actually get to. I wanted to see how to actually take that head turn and then implement it into a full body character rig like one might make using Duik. After some experimenting and fumbling around I ended up creating the tutorial below. It's not the most in depth thing you'll watch all day, but hopefully it unlocks just enough inspiration for you to take this and use it in your own rigs moving forward. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Foxy Walk Cycle

It dawned on me recently that I have never made an animal character before...and this is a huge problem. So I decided to work some in to my most recent project. I designed a little foxy lady and made her walk today, I was pretty pleased with the result.