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Creation Date: 2004-01-20
Today's picture is a second attempt at drawing my friend Dave. I didn't have a reference when I drew it since my friend Dave is in the Navy and I haven't heard from him in a few years. Dave is a great guy and although I might not recognize him with a buzz cut, he's probably still a great guy. Drawing people you know is nice because you get a feeling of satifaction saying: yes, that's my friend. You can possibly even show them the image and they add to your satisfaction saying: yes, that's a decent representation of me. But moreover with my video game, I will be able to explain this person's personality by representing them in the video game. Yesterday I talked about doing the same for Gally of Gunnm. I like doing that because it gives me things to base the details of my fiction on. Most of my characters have no one correlating real life person. Most of them are a collection of my original understanding of situations I have seen and what I decide will happen in the fictional circumstance.

Most of my character design sketches are aligned almost perfectly vertically. But this one I decided to make it at an angle because the camera is above and to the side while the character lies on a bed, having just woken up. (BTW, evil thoughts do not exist in an artist's mind, so stfu.) The reason I did this was because the first attempt was drawn this way. I was in the zone and the first image I drew was much like this one but was part of a storyboard, so it had to be of the character getting out of bed. It's important to the plot, really... The downside of this method of angle drawing is twofold: 1) the face cannot be made into a skin easily and 2) the body cannot be made into a skin easily. I didn't even attempt to make the body since I have too many body skins already. The amount of work I would have to do to get the body skin is prohibitive. The face, however, is valuable enough that straightening it is worth it. How? Well, I learned a good lesson: half is better. Here's the idea: break the face into two pieces. Draw a line from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head. If the hair is unsymmetric, estimate. Draw a line from the right side to the left side of the face, make sure that the top of the eyes are parallel with this line. If it doesn't, adjust until it is correct. It doesn't have to be 100%, 80% is fine. Group all the face together. Use the rotate tool until the ear to ear line is horzontal and the chin to top is vertical. That's a trick, by the way. The likelyness of both being lined up is nil. Why? Because humans can't rotate without skewing. No problem, don't fret. Break up the group. split the face into two sides: left and right. Hide half -- in this case, the right side. You'll need it later, so don't delete. Copy the left side and mirror it to the left to get symmetry. But then unhide the old right side and try to line up the symmetric one with the old one so that the shape of the face stays the same. Then you can delete the old one. If the shape of the face changes, the person changes. The same goes for the eyes: hide half, copy the other half, mirror, align the new with the old, delete the old. The hair is correct as is usually.

Symmetry tells the viewer that the picture was taken straight on. An asymmetry to one side or another tells the viewer that the picture was taken at an angle. If the eyes are asymmetric while the face is not, the viewer will think the character is distorting their face (or worse, that the artist is). It is good to have asymmetry in places where it is useful. As you look above, where do you see asymmetry? The hair. The nose. Look closely. The neck is one unit off, but it's not worth worrying about. Asymmetry is useful because mirror images are usually boring and dry. Imagine a song that had 8 instruments mono going at the same pace with no variation per theme. It's just repeating itself. What is its purpose? What reason is there to hear ba dump, ba dump, ba dump? People often imagine that songs, drumbeats, and lyrics are completely rhythmic and repeating. Check out the pattern I found in Nirvana's "On A Plain":

abdegh are two line normal verses.
c is a minor chorus.
C is a major chorus.
F is a flip out to mix things up.
Kurt Cobain was a genius of musical architecture. It may seem simple after the fact, but this was one of the less popular songs by Nirvana. Kurt made a bunch of these songs because they were natural in the abstract theory. My brother, my friends, and I played Nirvana's "About a Girl" back in the day. I had a hard time keeping up with the bass. Bill on the guitar was very intelligent and could understand the system to play at a good rate. Chuck on the drums could play all day long because he played in band (I forget which instrument). Pete was good at vocals and I forget what else. We played together and created a few tapes with our recordings. I don't think I even made it onto the final tape. By that time, I was into midi enough to explain to the band: "We could use midi to enhance our song a bunch!" They laughed. I didn't understand why until right about now. Here I'm teaching myself to use a tracker and I'm coming up with very mild results.

My first decent original song actually worked when I put it into a tracker. I started with lyrics and yesterday I added rhythm. It was actually really easy to add rhythm. Then I messed around and fixed it all. It seems that my song is perfect for a 3/2 measure. I didn't know what a 3/2 measure was before yesterday. My understanding is thus: two groups of three beats makes up a measure. For my song, 1 measure is a line of verse or chorus. I found this out by use of the tracker. Every eighth line is highlighted. But every third of these hightlighted lines is slightly lighter than the others. I put a beat on every highlighted line. The group of three allows me to group a __- and a _-- together to avoid any confusion. Could I use a 4/2 measure? Well, then I would only use 75% of the measure, right? No can do. So that is the reason for the 3/2 measure.

It's nice to learn something, isn't it? I've read two books and one tutorial which have tried to teach me that, but I didn't understand it until I finally used it. Funny, huh? Actually I keep looking for a slightly more advanced music composition tutorial. I have a $30 gift certificate to Amazon that I can't find a use for, maybe I'll buy an intermediate book on composition. Isn't it funny that a person goes so slowly over the first few weeks of learning and then skips to intermediate and then back to beginner, back and forth until suddenly it just is; there is no beginner, intermediate, and advanced. These terms are useful to communicate what a person does know, wants to know, and doesn't know. But how can we say that we advance in general topics? I am doing better in science today than yesterday because... life is one big science experiment and I haven't forgotten anything. But there's a problem saying that going from a to b to c by doing d, e, and f. In math, logic, and computer programming, it is possible. In complex situations, this is not always the case. I am getting slightly better at cooking, but my taste buds are changing all the time. One day sourdough, another granola, noodles, curry lentils. Does my making a poor meal mean that my skills have decreased? Does the fact that I believe that my pan full of noodles and fresh vegetables is tastier than anything in the world mean that I am at the skill level of Morimoto-san? These are observations that are based on a skewed perception. My mouth waters for tasty noodles. My soul yearns for the freedom of cooking for myself. My tastebuds are quite willing to lie to my brain in order to keep the brain from being depressed. Does that mean that I am eating horse food? Naw. Perhaps as long as my tastebuds are willing to lie, I should continue to be happy about it. Facing reality? It's for scientific subjects like cancer and the heliosphere.

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