Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some musical experiments

I made some music in the past couple days, mostly as experiments.  I'll explain them in greater detail than anyone could care about below.


This song started as an experiment with 2 guitars pan hard right and left playing alternating chords to give a really spacious and artificially reverb-y feel.  That was all fine and good and whatever, but the actual interesting part came when I added the lead.

The lead was initially just a lightly distorted, high-reverb, subtle delay effect, but I accidentally added a different effect on top of that.  The effect was some strange reverse-delay thing that sounded really spacy and ambient on it's own, but when I ran the sound with the first effect through it, it came out really dirty and noisy, but I really liked it.  I panned that half-left, and duplicated the track.  This time I fed the sound through the 2nd effect first, and the 1st after that, and panned that half-right.  That's the higher pitched and more echo-y effect.

The lead was improvised, as were the chords to some extent.  I attempted a minimalistic drum beat, but it was still too much.


I wanted to record some acoustic guitar for the first time in a while.  I roughed out the idea for this song a few days ago. 

I have a microphone, but no stand.  I had to improvise with a guitar stand:

There are 2 guitar strumming parts, each part has 2 separate tracks recorded (panned hard right and slightly left for one, hard left and slightly right for the other).  Just some basic EQ on each to make them less flat.  The lead part ran through Amplitube 3 for some slight effects to separate it from the other guitars.

I reinstalled Reason so I can get some nice stings and piano going in there.  Strings match the lower guitar strumming, piano matches both guitar parts.  I did a nice trick with the strings to make them sound fuller.  I duplicated the track, panned right and left, EQ'd the left to be more bass, and the right to be more highs, and very slightly offset the tracks in the timeline.  Just that small trick made the sound much bigger.  I did the same to the lower piano part, but that part is rather far down in the mix so you can't notice it too easily.

Lead was (lazily) improvised, the rest of the song was somewhat written when I recorded.  The lead would be more solid, but I haven't played a lot of acoustic lately so my fingers weren't holding up by the end. 

Anyway, I'm actually pretty proud of this one, especially for the sound I managed to get from my $20 Best Buy microphone tied to a guitar stand.  But also, it's probably the best-mixed (aside from overall volume) of the songs I've recorded myself.  The first song I was mostly interested in the noise I managed to create, but I think the 2nd one has some solid potential.  And now I know how I can get acoustic guitars to sound really solid.


I'm probably gonna get back to animating over the next few days.  Not sure when work is going to pop up, so we'll see.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Debate Team" animation: Blocking 1

So I'm finally back to animating non-Flash stuff.  Which is a relief.

I made one blocking pass on each character.  I tried out making a keyframe every 10 frames, and then adding necessary poses in between those when needed.  This is the first piece I've heavily used video reference for, and even though it's in a step-keyed blocking phase, I think it's showing.  I used to have an issue with reference footage where I feel it's sort of cheating.  Well, I still do, but I've realized it's illogical and I need to get over it.  At least I shot the footage myself, so it's still all my own work.

Anyway, I'll be making second passes on both characters, to get a keyframe at least every 5 frames.  My last attempted project I jumped into polish far far too soon, and it ultimately killed the project for me.  I'm going to block the hell out of this one, probably making a 3rd pass to make sure there's poses ever 2-4 frames or so before I dig into polish.

Audio clip is from "Strangers With Candy," Season 1, Episode 7