Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Architecture of Word World, Pt. 1: Places in 3-D

Here's a look at the architectural aspects of designing a complex 3-D animated world, like PBS Kids' Word World. In Word World, every "where" has to start somewhere, as in this sketch of even the lowliest crab shack, which in this case (like everything in Word World) had to be constructed from perfectly legible lower case letters.
In Word World, every 3-D location had to be built, much like it would be in the real world. Following the visualizing sketch, there'd have to be an architectural plan, showing all the angles that the model builders need to make the new locale into a space where our 3-D actors can work...

Combined with the architectural drawing can be a detailed comprehensive color version.

Sometimes, we got away with a simpler black & white version, as with this lower case "dock," just using a plan view, placing it in the world, and showing it's panel in the storyboard...

The color comp follows the plan drawing, and places the location in the world, in it's appropriate seasonal surrounding...
With the external plan drawn up, the location in the 3-D world determined, the color figured out, etc., etc...the building and placement of the model takes place, not (as you can see) without a bit of back-and-forth. I ended up building a fence between the Schoolhouse and the train track, for safety of course!

The new School-house location needs an interior that has to be built separate from the exterior, because the interior acting space needs to be larger than the exterior plan will allow. We stay correctly related to the exterior by sticking to the proper proportions, at least...
Finally, there needs to be a very comprehensive color version, that tell the model painters pretty much exactly what we need. The look of the world itself shouldn't vary much from this full color "architectural" rendering...I got help with this Schoolhouse interior from the very talented Gideon Kendall.

Even the most atmospheric and organic locations must be created by this plan – with sketches, technical/architectural drawings, color comps, and finished color renderings, whether it's the Schoolhouse, or the bottom of the pond!

Friday, August 19, 2011

We Are All Plastic (In a Very Real Way...)

Now and then (when we're not being particularly kind) we might refer to a person as being "plastic," meaning that they don't seem to be very authentic, or that they're overly concerned with surface ap-pearances. While we usually mean it in a mildly derisive way, it's really an entirely accurate description, not of just some people, but of everyone, and in fact, of every thing too. As an adjective, as a con-cise description, the whole world is plastic.

It's plenty easy to see in ourselves, these crazy viscous, cellular bodies we ride around in are always changing. Regenerating, re-arranging, building up, breaking down. Aging. Ripening. Come to think of it, I'm getting pretty ripe myself. I'm being rearranged in ways I never really wanted.

"As you think, so you are." The Buddha

The truth is, that like most physical conditions and material cir-cumstances; even life events, attitudes, and emotional states, I can change my state of being. Mold it – like plastic. Our acceptance of this concept is obvious in the language we commonly use, usually when we describe the potential in things. You can "make something of yourself," or "make a mess of your life." You can make a promise to get in shape (promises, promises). No one has much of a problem with this concept of malleability, based on our focus, our intention, our possibilities, and of course, our actions. But what if we take a closer look, beneath that superficial sense of plasticity?

Look at a time-lapse film of a big city the next chance you get, and you'll see a constant flux of matter coming into the picture, coming into being, and then going out of it. Buildings pile up and wear down like sandcastles. People flock and file by, suddenly accumulate, and then vanish, like raindrops evaporating in the sun. Those were important places. They were important people. Where does it all come from, where does it all go?

Past mystics called it "the ether." Buddhists call it emptiness. A physicist might call it the Quantum, or Higgs Field. Whatever you call it, it is an ocean of invisible fluctuating energies from which and into which everything we see and know precipitates, takes form, and exists "here," at least for a little while until it returns back. I plan on doing that very thing myself.

"The fact that the mass of a particle is equivalent to a certain amount of energy means that the particle...has to be conceived as a dynamic pattern, a process involving the energy which manifests itself as the particle's mass."
Fritjof Capra

Before I really get personal with it, let's consider this plasticity on a geological time scale, like an archaeologist might. Over what seem to be great expanses of time in our perception, these energies manifest themselves in broad cultural movements, and massive re-arrangements of man-made stuff. A lot of people all suddenly seek and find the same solutions for their life needs, and they swarm, like those great, organic flocks of birds undulating through the sky. They get busy, like ants. The plastic surface of the planet evolves – waves of biospheric change spread, peeling over the Earth's surface, re-forming entire continents. For example, lots of people once lived in the green region that is now the Sahara Desert. Human actions are adding to these processes as we speak.

If we just allow our evolving consciousness to lift us to an adequate vantage point, where we can gain a perspective on this change, we can see ourselves not just as a part of it, but of even determining it through our participation. So our participation has direction, and creates our constantly shifting state of being. If we can manage this big mind, we can see the direction we want to be going collectively, and focus our own plasticity in accord. Now it's getting more personal.

Have you ever walked into a room or a space, and just not felt right? Or experienced a "weird" day, when you, and everyone you came in contact with all noticed something off. What you're experiencing are real perceptions that our expanding consciousness gives us. An awareness of the invisible fluctuating energies I'm talking about. Tuning in to these energies changes and informs all aspects of your personal life, and reconnects us to the world in a less self-centered way. We engage in a more external way, and by doing so, engage ourselves with that greater underlying energy.

Then you might suddenly see that things aren't going great for anybody. Or that someone isn't really being a jerk – they're suffering. Or, more importantly, that you can contribute to changing those states of being in yourself and others, those plastic attitudes and directions, by just exercising your awareness, adjusting your focus, aiming your intention, and taking the right actions.

Have you ever had a flurry of synchronicitous events take place in your life? Coincidences that really couldn't be completely coincidental, usually guiding you towards positive connections, places you need to be, people you need to meet? Those situations are opportunities to join with this source dimension that you access by accepting this invisible spiritual mechanism. This is the definition of faith as "the evidence of things unseen."

Coincidentally, when you become willing to allow your normally constrained perceptions to expand into the shared "field of being" that lives right under the surface of things, the actions you'll intuitively want to take will contribute to the spiritual evolution of all Life on Earth, and you'll become part of the collective conscious co-creation of a positive, abundant, sustainable future. You'll become part of our greater solution.

"When you make the two into One, you will be a Son of Man,
and when you say: Mountain move! It will move."
Logion 106, The Gospel of Thomas

All you need to recognize, to become fully aware of, is that the two most powerful of all the underlying energies – the ones you want directing all of your important decisions (and unimportant ones),  are Love and Truth. Then try to occupy these two ideals as the medium of your life, the very best way you can.

"Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other"
doesn't make any sense."


Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Codename: Kids Next Door: More From the Sooper Obscure Files...Logos!

There were always "other" organizations, kind of like the KND, but made up of hamsters, evil cats, Amish, whatever,
and they all needed logos...

Most of these were done in about an hour, just because that's how show production goes, and they weren't even done in Illustrator...

...they were inked (remember that?) by Sir Robert Smith, and colored by interns
– God bless interns (color slightly adjusted here...)

...then there were the holidays, and of course the KND needed to add a little cheer to the standard logo!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Amy Winehouse, Rupert Murdoch, And How 2012 Came Early

Will 2012 finally begin the sudden shift in consciousness promised by some? If a profound new state of human consciousness is really right on top of us, why does it often seem that the social and cultural transformation we long for threatens to be just another failed "Rapture," only this time not for some misguided evangelical cult, but for all of us – the sanely, progressively, spiritually faithful. There's one very big reason not to fear this potential disappointment: What we're waiting for is already here. 2012 has come early.
It's in keeping with the limitations of human perception that it's not so easy for us to see the progress that we've collectively made already. It requires an objectivity that most of us have trouble gaining, constrained by our pernicious human Egos, and misdirected as we are by our corrupted media.

When I was a child, only a few decades back, there was practically no environmental awareness, no recycling programs. There was no energy conservation, no Endangered Species, no locavores, microloans, sustainability, no "repurposing," or green anything. Vegetarians were "hippie weirdos." People who opposed atomic power were crazy troublemakers. A poor African-American man from a broken home could never become President. Impossible. All of this is more than possible now. It is.
Practically unimaginable just twenty years ago, we now have the means to instantly connect our progressive spiritual consciousness globally, like a single entity.
Evidence of this shift is everywhere, even in the least likely of places – the popular media.

Amy Winehouse was an amazing talent, as anyone who saw her perform at her peak would agree, but she was seized and destroyed not by personal irrespon-sibility or a lack of will-power, but what we all know as a spiritual, physical, and mental disease that so many of us have witnessed and had touch our lives that even the media celebration of her sadly ironic hit, "Rehab," was uneasy, at best.
No one was surprised when she died, and only the least con-scious among us could enter into that state of comfortable denial that would have been commonplace just a few years ago. Even corporate media talking heads couldn't package it as usual. Advertisers couldn't bumper the story with beer ads. Even they intuitively knew better.
It was Ms. Winehouse's karma to make this message about the necessity of loving tolerance through her unfortunate life and sacrifice. In this sense, she's evidence of the end of media denial, the "self-immolating" start of a revolutionary consciousness of recovery; not unlike the burning martyr who launched the Egyptian revolution.

When Rupert Murdoch's "News of the World" collapsed under the weight of the oppressive soul corruption that drives his power, the fear-based tension keeping all those lies aloft was in an instant deflated, and collapsed into the shadow of the new era of Ethics and Compassion, already standing over it, sending it's irreversible message that the era of fearful, exploitative power has come to an end. The destructive delusion of it is as sadly transparent as the stories told by a bitter little man, answering to a Parliamentary panel. The Emperor has no clothes–they've been dissolved by the penetrating light of our "new" shared consciousness.

The oil spill, the earthquake and meltdown, the continuing unnecessary starvation in Africa, the financial collapses, the un-conscionable irresonsibility of corporate food production, the stupidity of fracking, the ridiculous political "good cop, bad cop" routine in Washington, the revolutionary bloodshed in the Middle East – these aren't news items to engage or enrage only "the left," they're issues of a global order, experienced tangibly, empathically, instanta-neously by the great majority of humans on the planet.

The forces tenaciously clinging to power in the face of this irreversible sea change see that "The Kingdom is already spread across the earth" (even when many of the faithful don't yet realize the enormity of the transformation already among us), and so they plot and consolidate, but too late – the genie of cooperative con-sciousness is out of the bottle. Their time is over. It's likely to be messy, the embedded power "elite" won't go easily or particularly quickly by the measure of a single lifetime, but that's okay as it is, profound change is always writ larger than just a generation. The bulk of the change has already happened.

So if the new consciousness is really here already, what can we do to bring it into it's ascendency, to create the compassionate, intelligent stewardship that will "save the world?" We've got heroes: The Ernst Laszlos, and Arundhati Roys, and Johann Callemans, and Daniel Pinchbecks (thx Evolver!), and Amy Goodmans, and George Noorys and Julian Assanges, and Eckhart Tolles and Ammas. We've got eco-activists, and "hacktivists," demonstrators and the blogo-sphere. If you're one of those action-takers, God Bless You, but if not, here's what you can do to keep powering up what has already become far more powerful than you may realize:

Keep doing exactly what you've been doing, only a little moreso! Stay open-hearted, do service, stay connected, keep actively engaging your intuitive intelligence when it comes to important decisions. Heighten environmental responsibility. Take part in the process to the degree you're able, and vote. Teach tolerance. Have compassion, even for the less conscious among us. Love each other. Keep growing into your true spiritual potential personally, and we all will collectively. Each of us truly is all of us in this era of quantum consciousness.

Step up and assume the role of the enlightened majority present on our planet now; start living in the era of cooperative con-sciousness, using the intuitive intelligence that lives in everything, in everyday, in every life, "large" and "small." You needn't wait for our time to come. Our time is here already.

"Our present world is conditioned by our present mode of consciousness; only when that consciousness passes from its present dualistic mode...will the new creation appear, which is the external reality of which our world is a mirror."
Bede Griffiths

The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Codename: Kids Next Door, From the Sooper Obscure Vault

The last of the real strange Rainbow Monkeys...
Here's a soda-pop/champagnish sort of cycle thang that runs on carbonation, I'm sure...I'll be rolling out some more obscure vehicles soon!